Paint Brush Prairie Conservation Area

Public Lands
Name: Paint Brush Prairie Conservation Area
Where is it? Pettis County, Missouri
Owner: Missouri Department of Conservation
Facilities: three parking lots. Explore the prairie on your own.
On June 14, 2008, the most diverse wildflower assemblage was at the first parking lot on Manila Road. While a few Indian paint brush plants (Castilleja coccinea) were still in flower, other plants were putting on the bigger show. These included beard tongue (Penstemon spicata), prairie parsley (Polytaenia nuttallii), golden Alexanders (Zizia aurea), yellow tickseeds (Coreopsis lanceolata and C. palmata), blue larkspur (Delphinium carolinianum), loosestrife (Lysimachia lanceolata), and sensitive brier (Mimosa quadrivalvis). A stop along the road in the prairie yielded New Jersey tea (Ceanothus americanus). The last parking stop in the prairie included a wetland habitat.


What is it? Loess and loess-related deposits which have a particularly high ice content and a large volume of organic carbon.
Where is it found? Lena River and Kolyma River drainages of Sakha Republic, Russia, mostly north of 55 degrees.
What are the implications? This area is currently permafrost. When ice-frozen ground thaws, the loss of volume from melting ice creates depressions where water ponds. Methane emissions from these “thermokarst” lakes are a large source of methane during greenhouse warming. This may have contributed to the abrupt warming around 11,500 years ago.

Reference: Thermokarst Lakes as a Source of Atmospheric CH4 During the Last Deglaciation. K.M. Walter, M.E. Edwards, G. Grosse, S.A. Zimov, and F.S. Chapin III. Science 318:633-636 (26 October 2007).