The area occupied by the Thousand Hills Woodland and Forest IBA was historically narrow tallgrass-prairie uplands grading into woodlands and forested slopes and valleys (Nigh and Schroeder 2002). Today it is mainly pasture with large blocks of second-growth forest.
Twenty-seven percent of the IBA is publicly-owned conservation land. This includes the Missouri Department of Natural Resource's (MDNR) Thousand Hills State Park (SP) (3,080 acres, 1,247 ha), and the Missouri Department of Conversation's (MDC) Big Creek Conservation Area (CA) (1,052 acres, 426 ha) and Sugar Creek CA (2,589 acres, 1,048 ha).
Red-headed Woodpeckers, Eastern Wood-pewee, and Summer Tanagers will likely use open woodlands when restored on the Thousand Hills Woodland and Forest IBA. Forest interior birds, such as Wood Thrush, currently have habitat in the IBA.
The Thousand Hills Woodland and Forest IBA overlaps MDC?s (2005) Thousand Hills Woodland Conservation Opportunity Area, where woodland restoration through prescribed fire is presented as a conservation strategy. Urbanization from nearby Kirksville, Missouri is also a conservation concern.