Iowa has four major state forests and six minor ones, measuring somewhere shy of 44,000 acres. In those forests right now, mission number one - keep the oaks alive.
"We have had very erratic weather the last few years. It’s been very wet, and we’re really worried about oak death,” says John Byrd, Area Forester for Shimek State Forest in Southern Iowa. “It takes work to get oaks to grow. If you let everything go, it’s not the species that would be there. If you let it go, it would be maple, basewood and elm.”