There are thousands of privately owned glades in Missouri, so verification entails meeting private landowners to ask for permission to check out their property. Most folks are really excited that someone with an interest in botany wants to see their land. In fact, everyone I've met has been stellar, very friendly and helpful, and usually thrilled to tell me about the yellow coneflowers in spring, and the tall flowers of prairie dock that appear each summer on their glade. A lot of landowners have never heard of glades, but they know that they own some sort of ecosystem that looks different from the surrounding landscape
One recent field verification trip took me to a geologic anomaly around Decaturville. On the wall behind me is a massive 1979 Geologic Map of Missouri, and at Decaturville is a handdrawn circle with a few lines emanating from the sides. It was once thought that a meteor landed there, which accounts for the strange geology and landforms; for example, LaMotte sandstone shows up here pocked in the landscape, surrounded by a sea of dolomite. I have a vague recollection that this was not the site of a meteor crater, but an erosional feature of downcutting (the LaMotte sandstone that appears on geology maps? It's exposed in a pit created when the area was mined for uranium). Nevertheless, the area is characterized by interesting geology, so I was particularly interested to see the huge band of glades that exist on the different geology outside of Decaturville. No LaMotte sandstone barrens here in the Central Ozarks of Niangua country, just an abandoned pit with some sandstone exposed.
After climbing over and under barbed wire fences, we hiked through the post oak woods that day and encountered a massive glade belt, dotted with askew dolomite boulders sitting in a circle:
This was a massive glade belt with some curious geology, but that barbed wire fencing was still being maintained to keep a massive herd of cows grazing there. The glades were totally trashed from grazing, with absolutely no soil left and only a hint of the warm season grass structure. It's a little grim to conduct field verification to find that what was once most likely a significant landscape feature has been so intensely damaged by grazing or some other destructive process. I took a lot of glade photos that day but couldn't find a single stem of Rudbeckia missouriensis or, well, any other forb.
In a recent comparison analysis of FQI on glades in the White River Hills, it has been determined that the floristic integrity--damaged by many years of grazing--is slightly improving (ever slowly) since the cows and grazing allotments were removed from the glades. Having conducted floristic surveys in damaged systems in the Ozarks, I have learned that damage such as at this glade belt is not easily reversed. Ecosystems are not "dynamic and ever changing," and nor are they "resilient" when they've been damaged so severely. It won't be in my lifetime that this glade will recover a thick thatch layer and sod which supports a biodiverse glade flora, even if the cows were taken off this week. But we verified it was a glade, destroyed, but still a glade.