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Although the Mark Twain National Forest is known for its extensive stands of shortleaf pine, oaks and hickories, this landscape is also home to a wide variety of other ecosystems ranging from the balds near Ava and Cassville, to the hills of the Current River country, the bottomland hardwood forests near Poplar Bluff and the igneous domes of the St. Francois Mountains.
Within this wide and varied landscape there exists a diverse array of plants. Of the roughly 2800 species of plant in Missouri, about two-thirds can be found on the Forest.
Whether you are hiking the Ozark Trail, paddeling one of the many wild and scenic rivers on the forest, stopping along the Glade Top National Scenic Byway, or just enjoying one of our many recreation sites there is no end to the beauty of Missouri.
The Mark Twain National Forest, situated in the ancient and beautiful Missouri Ozarks, is home to over 650 native wildlife species. These include almost 200 kinds of fish, over 100 different amphibians and reptiles, over 300 breeds of birds, and around 60 types of mammals.
The far-flung locations of our Ranger Districts make it possible to encounter a surprising variety of animals. In the southwest part of the state (Ava and Cassville units) you might catch sight of a roadrunner or painted bunting; in the southeast part of the state (Poplar Bluff unit) you might see wood ducks or bald eagles; and in any part of the Forest you might glimpse wild turkeys, deer, a variety of songbirds, and perhaps even a black bear!