North American Prairie Conference


Date of this Version



Published in Prairie Pioneers: Ecology, History and Culture: Proceedings of the Eleventh North American Prairie Conference, August 7-11, 1988, Lincoln, Nebraska (Lincoln, NE 1989).


Western portions of the Edwards Plateau are dominated by a grass mosaic which consists of a rhizomatous midgrass, tobosagrass [Hilaria mutica (Buckl.) Benth.], and two stoloniferous short grasses, common curlymesquite [Hilaria belangeri (Steud.) Nash] and buffalograss [Buchloe dactyloides (Nutt.) Engelm.]. Permanent 0.3 m x 6 m belt transects were established on three major soil series (Tobosa, Ozona. Valera) across several grazing treatments on the Texas Range Station near Barnhart, Texas, and the distribution of perennial grasses was mapped in 1951 (pre-drought), 1953 (drought), 1957 (post-drought), and 1987. Cover showed no consistent trends in relation to grazing. Total grass cover and composition within each soil series was found to be similar in 1951 and 1987, but cover was reduced by 20 to 56% during the drought period due primarily to a decrease in short-grass cover. This grassland mosaic exhibits a high degree of resistance and resilience to climatic variability.