Managing and Restoring Texas Oak Woodlands

by Jeff Sparks, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Comparable to many oak ecosystems across the eastern U.S., oak woodlands in Texas display characteristics of changing composition and structure due to altered fire regimes. Information describing historic fire regimes suggests woodlands underwent relatively frequent and repeated burning prior to major EuroAmerican influence in the early 19th century. Oak woodland management is a central goal of Texas Parks and Wildlife natural community management, however many questions and challenges exist related to habitat loss and fragmentation, human populations, and prescribed fire implementation. In this paper we: 1) review information describing the historic fire regimes and community structures of Texas oak woodlands and 2) detail fire prescriptions and challenges related to restoring long unburned sites.

By Jeff Sparks, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
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