According to my esteemed colleague, the distinct characteristics are rather specific:
Main characters: losing stream; rapidly drained; soils dry to dry-mesic but subject to flash floods. Get this. Usually no discernable stream in many. Its hard to find good ones because of all the shitty pastures upstream-hence why there's a good quality DMBF along White's Creek as there's no development in that watershed and it directly enters the Eleven Point River.
And since there were so many questions about this, I've reposted Paul Nelson's answer to all of you here:
Ok Scott, Allison, Travis and Ted. I must succumb to answering all, with a disclaimer that we might never know the complete truth. Ted. The terms "forest" and "woodland" can have many different meanings depending on the context. But for my purposes, woodlands are specifically described as a certain type of natural community distinct from forest. Allison is right; I hope you have the book. Scott. Your observations of Wildhorse Creek west of Big Spring is right on. That is the country that typically loses most rainfall that filters and percolates through porous substrate through cracks and caves eventually emerging at Big Spring (and other springs). I could just as easily taken the photo there instead of Whites Creek in Irish or Big Barren Creek elsewhere on the Eleven Point Ranger District. You are also correct that to some degree of severity, nearly every stream and river in Missouri now contains sediment overburden, the cause which is post European settlement overgrazing, land clearing, poor silvicultural practices (sorry for the politics) and overburning followed by abandonment of now degraded and worn out woodlands. And I'm not familiar with Logan Creek. Oh, and Allison you know that most every "forest" at some time in history will burn, even if every 50 to 500 years, but the point is despite an occasional fire, their structure is multi-layered.