The Role Of Remnant Native Vegetation And Management Strategies In The Reclamation Of Native Prairie Plant Communities
Native prairie ecosystems are diminishing in Texas along with their ecosystem services. In order to restore the native prairie ecosystems and their services as a whole, the native prairie plant communities on which they are based must be reclaimed. Effects of past land use, dispersal of nearby remnant plant communities, and various management strategies on native plant community establishment were studied, in order to better understand the reclamation process and formulate recommendations for general native prairie plant community reclamation. Establishment of desired native prairie plant communities was negatively affected by more recent disturbance, but positivity affected by the proximity of disturbed areas to remnant native plant communities. Management practices recommended as most successful at establishing desired native plant communities include increasing available native propagules, adding soil amendments whose nutrient levels aim at similarity to native surface soils, and reducing any further disturbance of existing plant communities. Although use of these management strategies may allow for the reclamation of native prairie plant communities in general, or simply speed up and steer the natural reclamation process, reclamation to the native Little Bluestem dominant prairie community may be more difficult and take more time.