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Imagewildflowers
Oct 1, 2010 11:55 AM CST
Name: Christine
Northeast Texas, Zone 7b
A bit of History

The Blacklands prairie and Post Oak Savannah landscapes were formed and maintained by two major forces ~ grazing bison and fires. the recurrent fires were ignited either by lightning or human-American Indians and were a major force that molded the prairie and savannah landscapes. The fires were typically very large in scale and would traverse the countryside until they reached landforms or conditions that would contain them, such as rivers, creeks, soil change, or topographical changes. Fire maintained the plant communities by suppressing invading woody species and stimulating growth of prairie grasses and forbs. Large herds of bison, sometimes as large as 1,000 animals, ranged the prairies and savannahs. There they would consume the grasses, trample organic matter, and then distribute seed into the disturbed soil. The large herds would then move on, allowing the range time to recover.

It must have been something to see all those bison roaming freely.... the only bison I've seen roaming freely were in Yellowstone National Park where they are protected.
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One of the earliest uses of the Blackland Prairies and Post Oak Savannah by early settlers was grazing livestock, primarily cattle and horses. Farming was also common by the settlers in the area but didn't become a major use until the 1870's. It was during this time that the prairies were plowed under and cotton replaced ranching as the principle land use. The rich soils of the Blackland Prairie were ideal for growing cotton. So, in a relatively short time, a majority of the desirable land was cultivated, leaving only small remnants of the original prairie intact. In the Post Oak Savannah, the land was cleared and tilled by farmers and ranchers, and the use of fire was all but eliminated. Today, the Post Oak Savannah and the Blacklands Prairie has been converted into vast acreages of improved pastures consisting of Bermuda grass and/or Bahaia grass.

The changes to the land that have occurred over the last 100 years or so, have dramatically altered the flora and fauna of these regions. The once diverse wildlife communities that occurred on the praries and savannahs have been reduced dramatically, and continue to decline.

Blue Heran in search of a meal.
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Reference:
Info from the TPWD website: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/landwater/land/habitats/post_oak...
FAITH over fear!

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