A classification and inventory of Arkansas's remaining tracts of relatively undisturbed vegetation was initiated in 1979. Based on extensive literature surveys and field work, the classification includes five physiognomic classes, 17 cover classes, and 46 cover types, arranged hierarchically. High quality examples of ten of the cover types have been located in designated wilderness or state natural areas, where they are protected by law, while an additional three occur in research natural areas or Forest Service special interest areas. The remaining 33 cover types have no known long-term protection. Lands having wilderness, state natural area, research natural area, or special management area status total nearly 51,000 acres in the state. No more than one-tenth of this area, however, supports vegetation in relatively undisturbed condition.

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