LaRue - Pine Hills - Western Shawnee - Trail of Tears
Protected lands - Pine Hills Ecological Area, LaRue Ecological Area, Ozark Hills Nature Preserve, Shawnee National Forest (including Oakwood Bottoms), Trail of Tears State Forest
Conservation philosophy - Maintain connectivity among Ozark, Shawnee Hills and Lower Mississippi River Bottomlands Natural Divisions with riverine, swamp, bottomland forest, bluff, and upland forest, glade and barrens communities. Protect and proactively manage for the unique flora and fauna native to these ecosystems. Use sound management decisions, with historical conditions as a guide.
Priority Resources (LaRue Swamp) - swamp, sloughs of the Big Muddy River, high diversity of reptiles and amphibians
Objectives - enroll unprotected critical habitats for endangered/threatened species into long term protection plans; generate funding to increase biologist positions to help with personnel needed to proactively manage these communities.
Priority actions - use prescribed fire to manage fire climax communities of glades, barrens, and upland forests; land acquisition of available target parcels of high quality community types; reforestation to create larger patches
Partners - U.S. Forest Service, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy
Research, monitoring & evaluation - research and monitoring can be conducted by Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Southern Illinois University (Carbondale and Edwardsville campuses), Southwest Illinois College, and the Illinois Natural History Survey
*See also Ozark and Shawnee Hills natural divisions.