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Restoration of Grassland in South-Central Texas

  • Last update: 14 March 2019
  • File size: 1.56 MB
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  • Author: Wendy J. Leonard and O. W. Van Auken
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Wendy J. Leonard 1 and O. W. Van Auken 2
1 San Antonio Parks and Recreation Natural Areas, San Antonio,TX 78231
2 Department of Biology, The University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio TX 78249

*Corresponding author; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Abstract.– In the past, grasslands and savannas were common in many areas of south-central Texas, including the San Antonio area. With the advent of European settlers and their livestock, much of this area was converted to agriculture and rangeland. Today, most of San Antonio is developed, but some preservation has occurred. Restored grassland, mechanically cleared of Juniperus ashei (juniper, Ashe juniper) and other woody species in 2013, was examined and compared to adjacent non-cleared woodland. The woodland examined was dominated by Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon) and Juniperus ashei. Richness in the woodland canopy was 15 species. The understory below the canopy had 25 woody species. In the restored grassland area, herbaceous plant cover was 41.8%, woody plant cover 5.8%, bare soil 2.9%, and litter cover 49.5%. Species richness was 71, with 60 herbaceous and 11 woody species (percent cover of each from <0.1-7.1%). The most common species in the restored grassland in descending order were Nassella leucotricha (Texas winter grass), Calyptocarpus vialis (straggler daisy), Carex planostachys (cedar sedge), Sporobolus crypandrus (sand dropseed), D. texana, and Verbesina virginica (frost weed). Several C4 grass species were present with low cover but may increase in abundance over time. Four of the six most common restored grassland species were present below the woodland canopy and 12 woody species were present in the restored grassland as juveniles. Cost of restoration was approximately $38,500 ($7,500 supplies, $31,000 labor).

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