Background/Question/Methods Oak savannas, woodlands, and forests were historically an important component of the Central Hardwood Region of middle America. These ecosystems have declined in recent years due to fire suppression and mesophication. Here we provide a set of rapid assessment metrics based on the Missouri Community Health Index (CHI) and NatureServe’s Ecological Integrity Assessment (EIA) methods to assess and track changes through time for ecosystem restoration efforts. We use ecological sites to help identify the appropriate reference conditions for restoring sites.
Results/Conclusions landscape context metrics. Individual assessment points (thresholds) and ratings (Excellent, Good, Fair, and Poor) were designed, and field protocols were developed using rapid field methods, such as basal area prisms and ocular (visual) estimates of cover. A case study using Ozark dry-mesic oak woodlands is presented from the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri. These methods can guide assessments of the native biodiversity and priority wildlife values of oak woodlands across the Midwest.