Accelerated Succession

Project #: 100842  –   Updated: May 04, 2012

Project Summary

The invasive Old World Bluestem, King Ranch Bluestem (Bothriochloa ischaemum) is being replaced in burn scars (locations where cut ash juniper was piled and burned) by a mix of native grass seeds, forbs, compost, and mycorrhiza. The soil was lightly tilled which mixed in compost and mycorrhiza then seed was sown and lightly covered. To date 9 plots have been treated. Soil biotics taken at the time of seeding and after a year indicate from the fungi to bacteria ratio and from the genera of nematodes that the process has moved from that of sterile soil to a state of succession closer to wh...

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Location (by county):
Kendall County (TX)

Watersheds:
Upper Guadalupe

Congressional Districts:
TX District 21

Bird Conservation Regions:
Edwards Plateau

USFWS Regions:
Southwest Region

Project size:
138.0 acres

Public Access

Site Name Publicly Accessible
Hill Co. Wild Mercury site No

Full Project Description

The invasive Old World Bluestem, King Ranch Bluestem (Bothriochloa ischaemum) is being replaced in burn scars (locations where cut ash juniper was piled and burned) by a mix of native grass seeds, forbs, compost, and mycorrhiza. The soil was lightly tilled which mixed in compost and mycorrhiza then seed was sown and lightly covered. To date 9 plots have been treated. Soil biotics taken at the time of seeding and after a year indicate from the fungi to bacteria ratio and from the genera of nematodes that the process has moved from that of sterile soil to a state of succession closer to what would be expected for a climax prairie. These results are short term, so the plots will be followed as the years progress. Success will also depend strongly on how much it rains and when.

Project Assistance & Partnership Opportunities

Other

The greatest need is rainfall once a month, especially during the summer.

Goals and Targets

Primary motivations:

Conservation Mission
Increase biodiversity of site by replacing invasive grass with native grasses.
Personal Interest
Developing the knowledge and protocol for replacing this invasive grass

Primary goals:

Generate a patchwork of native grassed areas within the property that has about a 40% coverage of the invasive grass. The hypothesis is that from these patches of native grasses, the natives will spread by out competing the invasive grass and the coverage of invasive grass will gradually be greatly reduced.
Progress:

The process has been developed for invasive grass replacement. Preliminary results (soil tests) indicate that process is viable. Each year a number of new plots will be established, depending on the rainfall forecast, and additional soil monitoring will be conducted on older plots to follow the progress of succession to mature grassland. Changes in the plots will be followed by periodic photographs, and, it is hoped, surveys of grass species occupying the plots. - additional knowledge and personnel will be required for species monitoring.

Consistent with plans:

Habitat Conservation Plan
Goal of conservation plan is to increase biodiversity.

Targeted Ecosystem Services:

  • Carbon and Other Greenhouse Gases
  • Habitat/Biodiversity
  • Pollination
  • Soil Conservation
  • Water Quality
  • Aesthetic Values
Credit Summary
Ecosystem Services Details Show/Hide details

Targeted habitats:

    • Shrublands and Grasslands
      • Grasslands
        • Modified/Managed Grassland
    • Wetlands and Riparian Habitats
      • Lowland Riparian Forests and Shrublands
        • Edwards Plateau Riparian

Targeted species were not provided for this project.

Actions

Project Actions

Assistance

Technical Assistance
Monitoring Show/Hide details

Outcomes

Is the success of this project's actions being monitored?   Yes

Please describe your monitoring activity.

Monitoring butterfly and bird species, using seqential photography, and plans for grass species monitoring within the restored plot areas.

What lessons have been learned and/or what suggestions do you have for similar activities?

Rainfall is a key ingredient and restoration must be timed to take advantage of whatever rainfall we get. Our rainfall usually occurs in September - December and in April-May. Planting should be conducted a month before first freeze or after about mid-March as soil temperatures warm.

If in a La Nina climate condition, do not plant.

What additional information would you like to share?

To replace the invasive grass, it must first be killed. We have used 2 methods: burning brush piles and solarizing. Both methods are effective, but solarizing is very slow and only small areas can be treated. The method was developed on solarized plots before it was safe to burn the piles using a crew of experienced control burn personnel and equipment so as to carefully control the burn and avoid burning the neighbors' property.

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Organization

- none -
(Private Individual)

Primary Contact

David Davidson
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