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Biology Essay

3126 words - 13 pages

a) Resource used
I. Exotic plant management teams
II. Integrated pests management
b) Number of results
* Over 6,500 non-native invasive species have been documented on park lands
* More than 650 invasive species have been found in marine parks
c) Number of full text results
Invasive species include all taxa of organisms, ranging from microscopic insects to 100 lb sheep.
d)  70% of documented invasive species on park lands are invasive plant species
 around 5% of park lands are dominated by invasive plants.


Texas Today: A Sea of the Wrong Grasses

In the ’60s when I bought this place and moved
Here from Houston, we had so many quail that
...view middle of the document...

probably envisioned pastures full of fat cattle and a buff
ered annual bonus check, courtesy of this grass that could
grow so well, and so aggressively, in the hellish windblown
sands and cracked black clays of the Wild Horse Desert
of south Texas.
Today’s biologists look upon Kleberg bluestem, and its
African, Asian, and Australian grass cousins brought to
Texas, with a nauseating suspicion of an ecological night
mare. It is akin to a viral pandemic, swallowing up chunks
of what few can accurately describe with words, few thor
oughly understand, but what used to be waves of blue
bonnets and paintbrushes in the spring, crimson stands of
native prairie grasses in the fall, and carpets of yellow flowers
interspersed by funny looking grasses whose seeds stick in
socks and shoestrings. The native Texas landscape is disap
pearing before our eyes, under a sea of the wrong grasses.
What ran through my mind on April 26, 2009, when I
saw those maroon seedheads blowing in the breeze along
side U.S. 183 was much different than what Nick Diaz
must have pictured in 1939. I wondered aloud what the
hell a grass that I work to rid south Texas of on a daily basis
was doing on a highway right-of-way in one of the most
rural counties of central Texas
a hundred miles from where
it ever grew in the past
. In my 20 years of being a plant
maniac, and my father’s 40 of ranching, we’d never seen it
here before. Scarier still, those ripe seeds, like a pandemic
land virus, ended up washing down two different creeks in
the six inch rain we had two days later. I didn’t envision a
pasture full of cattle, but in my mind’s eye, I can imagine
one further void of quail, with fewer wildflowers and all
the things that make the native Texas landscape special.
I bet that my father and I will see more Kleberg bluestem
again in central Texas, and I suspect that my grandchildren
will see more of it than I care to imagine. If action isn’t
taken now, there’s a good chance that what’s left of the
Texas rural landscape will be a
sea of the wrong grasses.
Exotic Grasses, Economics, and Ecologists
Urban sprawl be damned, another threat, quieter and of
drastically underestimated importance to native habitats
and wildlife, is rampaging unchecked across the Texas
landscape. Past generations of Americans thrived on the
beef and spoils produced in part by the greatest period
of range grass experimentation and introduction known
to mankind. Throughout the 1900s, and even still today,
Texas ranchers and agronomists were and are leaders in
the practices of importing and planting “improved” exotic
range grasses.
Why we have them is as long a story as why south Texans
vote Democrat, in part just because. Old standby state
ments like “buffelgrass is the grass that saved south Texas”
or “I wouldn’t dare ranch in Texas without exotic grasses”
echo from cattlemen of my grandfather’s...

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