Re: Savannah and Grassland

David Froehlich (
Sat, 21 Oct 1995 15:48:35 -0500

On 21 Oct 1995, Mark Fagan wrote:

> RE: Fire and Maintenance of Open Savannah

Just a side note, down here in central Texas we currently have lots of
juniper covering the hill country and blackland prairie (also lots of
mesquite in the clay soils toward the southeast). We know from historic
accounts by Spanish missionaries in the 16th century that most of what is
now scrub and tree covered was mixed to short grass prairie then. Two
major changes have occured since then, 1) fire suppression and 2) buffalo
suppression. These two factors in prehistoric times apparently only
allowed the growth of woodland habitats near permanent sources of water.
So in some cases, fire and herbivores can have a large effect on the
predominant vegetation.

David J. Froehlich Phone: 512-471-6088
Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory Fax: 512-471-5973
J.J. Pickle Research Campus
The University of Texas, Austin, Texas 78712