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Patchwork strategies may be best for restoring Texas rangelands

VERNON A patchwork quilt approach may best suit landowners trying to repair many years of overgrazing, continuous stocking and fire suppression on Texas rangelands, said a Texas Agricultural Experiment Station researcher.

Dr. Bill Pinchak, Experiment Station range animal nutritionist, and his colleagues, Dr. Jim Ansley, Dr. Dean Ransom and Dr. Richard Teague will explain the patch disturbance for rangeland restoration management plan at the Range and Wildlife Field Day on Oct. 5.

"Managing the Rangeland Resources of the Texas Rolling Plains" will begin with registration at 8 a.m. at Texas Foundation Seed, adjacent to the Texas A&M University System Agricultural Research and Extension Center near Vernon.

Texas rangelands have steadily declined in productivity, biodiversity and watershed function due to "chronic" disturbances, Pinchak said. These continuous disturbances are the primary reason for woody plant encroachment, ecological degradation and loss of plant diversity.

"Rangeland restoration has traditionally been based on chemical, mechanical and/or fire techniques applied to an entire pasture at infrequent intervals," he said. "These large-scale disturbances have generally created landscapes favorable to livestock management, but not necessarily favoring wildlife, watersheds or ecosystem function."

Now, Pinchak said, increasing interest in ecotourism, land tenure changes and smaller ranch properties have led to different of what is good rangeland condition.

The Rangeland Innovations for Sustainable Environments team is a group of scientists from the Vernon, Uvalde and San Angelo Research and Extension Centers who are studying the feasibility of re-introducing frequent, small-scale (patch) disturbances.

In addition to Pinchak, Ansley, Teague and Ransom, team members are Dr. Keith Owens, Uvalde; Dr. Butch Taylor, Sonora; Dr. Susan Cooper, Uvalde; a
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Contact: Dr. Bill Pinchak
bpinchak@ag.tamu.edu
940-552-9941
Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications
11-Oct-2006


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