The Ozark Highlands of Missouri were once a diverse mosaic of prairies, savannas, woodlands, and forests. Today the region is characterized by forests or agricultural land, and many of the natural communities that supported a diversity of plants and animals have been lost. Restoration of natural communities is a primary management goal for the Mark Twain National Forest, other federal and state agencies, and conservation organizations. To guide restoration, managers need a better understanding of the historic communities and landcape conditions, and how they have changed. Forest Service scientists analyzed General Land Office surveys from 1815 to 1850 to characterize the historic vegetation and compared this with modern conditions during 2004 to 2008, which they determined using Forest Inventory and Analysis data. They found that oak species have decreased in dominance, and a variety of other species such as hickories, eastern redcedar, elms, and maples have become more prominent. Currently, trees are smaller in diameter and occur in dense forests�lost are the savanna and woodland communities. The Ozarks are largely a mature forest landscape that is less diverse and more homogeneous than historically existed. This finding has serious implications to ecosystem health, productivity and resilience to future stresses from changing climate and invasive species. Restoration aims to reverse this trend.