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Management of south Texas shrublands with prescribed fireAuthor(s): C. Wayne Hanselka; D. Lynn Drawe; D.C. III Ruthven
Source: In: Sosebee, Ronald E.; Wester, David B.; Britton, Carlton M.; McArthur, E. Durant; Kitchen, Stanley G., comps. Proceedings: Shrubland dynamics -- fire and water; 2004 August 10-12; Lubbock, TX. Proceedings RMRS-P-47. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 57-61.
Publication Series: Proceedings (P)
Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
PDF: View PDF (365 B)
DescriptionThe Rio Grande Plains (RGP) and Coastal Prairie (CP) of South Texas is the southernmost extension of the Great Plains Grasslands. Fire, along with other climatic variables, such as drought, presumably maintained mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa Torr.) savannas and interspersed grasslands of pre- European settlement South Texas. Frequency of fire appeared to be highly variable and ranged from 5 to 30 years (Wright and Bailey 1982). Following European settlement, the change from grassland to woodlands/shrublands was accelerated by introduction of livestock and fencing. Domestic animals served as ideal agents of seed dispersal for some species, notably mesquite. Removal of biomass by grazing also removed the fine fuel necessary to generate the intense, hot fires required to kill young woody plants. Where fuel was available to carry the fires, people worked to suppress them. Through time, woody plants gained a decided competitive edge over the grasses and forbs that had characterized the original grasslands, and the “brush country” was formed (Scifres and Hamilton 1993). Thus, suppression of fire, combined with heavy livestock grazing, led to the current thorn woodlands common throughout South Texas (Archer et al. 1988; Archer 1994).
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CitationHanselka, C. Wayne; Drawe, D. Lynn; Ruthven, D.C. III. 2007. Management of south Texas shrublands with prescribed fire. In: Sosebee, Ronald E.; Wester, David B.; Britton, Carlton M.; McArthur, E. Durant; Kitchen, Stanley G., comps. Proceedings: Shrubland dynamics -- fire and water; 2004 August 10-12; Lubbock, TX. Proceedings RMRS-P-47. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 57-61.
Keywordswildland shrubs, fire, water, Rio Grande Plains, RGP, Coastal Prairie, CP, South Texas, Great Plains Grasslands
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