Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Impacts of Buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare) on a Forb Community in South Texas

  • Joseph P. Sands (a1), Leonard A. Brennan (a1), Fidel Hernández (a1), William P. Kuvlesky (a1), James F. Gallagher (a2), Donald C. Ruthven (a2) and James E. Pittman (a1)...

Abstract

Since the 1950s, many south Texas rangelands have been seeded with buffelgrass, a perennial C4 bunchgrass native to Africa that is believed to contribute to reductions in biodiversity. Forb species represent a critical habitat component throughout the breeding period for many wildlife species as seed (summer to fall), as green vegetative material (spring to summer), and as habitat for arthropods (spring to summer). Reductions in richness and diversity of crucial ecosystem components such as forbs and arthropods have large implications for grassland birds and other wildlife. We sampled annual and perennial forbs within 1-m2 quadrats on 15 study plots (1 ha; n = 20 quadrats/plot) at Chaparral Wildlife Management Area, in LaSalle and Dimmit counties, Texas, during 2005 and 2006. Study plots were divided into five light-buffelgrass plots (0 to 5% buffelgrass canopy coverage), five moderate-buffelgrass plots (5 to 25% buffelgrass canopy coverage), and five heavy-buffelgrass plots (> 25% buffelgrass canopy coverage). Buffelgrass in study plots was composed of naturalized plants, and was not deliberately planted. During 2005 we observed that plots with > 25% buffelgrass had a 73% reduction in forb canopy of native species, a 64% reduction in native forb species richness, and a 77% reduction in native forb stem density compared to plots with 0 to 5% buffelgrass. These trends in native forb reduction (−79% native forb canopy, −65% forb species richness, −80% forb stem density) were nearly identical in 2006, even with greatly reduced rainfall. Simple linear regression revealed negative relationships between buffelgrass cover, total exotic grass cover (buffelgrass and Lehmann lovegrass), and total grass cover and the richness, coverage, and density of forbs/m2. Reductions in diversity may have larger implications regarding ecosystem function and available useable space and densities of desired bird species such as northern bobwhite.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Corresponding author's E-mail: ksjps03@tamuk.edu

References

Hide All
Bakker, J. and Wilson, S. 2001. Competitive abilities of introduced and native grasses. Plant Ecol 157:117125.
Ball, D. E. 1964. Range seeding introduced grasses on rootplowed land in the northwestern Rio Grande Plain. J. Range Manag 17:217220.
Biedenbender, S. H. and Roundy, B. A. 1996. Establishment of native semidesert grasses into existing stands of Eragrostis lehmanniana in southeastern Arizona. Restor. Ecol 4:155162.
Block, W. M. and Brennan, L. A. 1993. The habitat concept in ornithology: theory and applications. Pages 3591. In Power, D. M. Current Ornithology. New York Plenum.
Bock, C. E., Bock, J. H., Jepson, K. L., and Ortega, J. C. 1986. Ecological effects of planting African lovegrasses in Arizona. Natl. Geogr. Res 2:456463.
Bock, J. H. and Bock, C. E. 1992. Vegetation responses to wildfire in native versus exotic Arizona grassland. J. Veg. Sci 3:439446.
Brandt, C. A. and Rickard, W. H. 1994. Alien taxa in the North American shrub-steppe four decades after cessation of livestock grazing and cultivation agriculture. Biol. Conserv 68:95105.
Brooks, M. L. and Pyke, D. A. 2001. Invasive plants and fire in the deserts of North America. Pages 114. In Galley, K. E. M. and Wilson, T. P. Proceedings of the Invasive Species Workshop: The Role of Fire in the Control and Spread of Invasive Species. Fire Conference 2000: The First National Congress on Fire Ecology, Prevention, and Management. Miscellaneous Publication No. 11. Tallahassee, FL Tall Timbers Research Station.
Búrquez-Montijo, A., Miller, M. E., and Martínez-Yrízar, A. 2002. Mexican grasslands, thornscrub, and the transformation of the Sonoran Desert by invasive exotic buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare). Pages 126146. In Tellman, B. Invasive Exotic Species in the Sonoran Region. Tucson, AZ The University of Arizona Press and The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.
Butler, D. W. and Fairfax, R. J. 2003. Buffel grass and fire in a gidgee and brigalow woodland: a case study from central Queensland. Ecol. Manag. Restor 4:120125.
Carter, M. G. 1958. Reclaiming Texas brushland range. J. Range Manag 11:15.
Christian, J. M. and Wilson, S. D. 1999. Long-term ecosystem impacts of an introduced grass in the northern Great Plains. Ecology 80:23972407.
Cody, R. P. and Smith, J. K. 2006. Applied statistics and the SAS programming language. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
D'Antonio, C. M., Dudley, T. L., and Mack, M. 1999. Disturbance and biological invasions: direct effects and feedbacks. Pages 413452. In Walker, L. R. Ecosystems of the world; ecosystems of disturbed ground. Ecosystems of the World. Volume 16. New York Elsevier Science.
Daehler, C. C. and Goergen, E. M. 2005. Experimental restoration of an indigenous Hawaiian grassland after invasion by buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris). Restor. Ecol 13:380389.
Daubenmire, R. 1959. A canopy coverage method of vegetation analysis. Northwest Sci 33:4364.
Evans, R. D., Rimer, R., Sperry, L., and Belnap, J. 2001. Exotic plant invasion alters nitrogen dynamics in an arid grassland. Ecol. Appl 11:13011310.
Fairfax, R. J. and Fensham, R. J. 2000. The effect of exotic pasture development on floristic diversity in central Queensland, Australia. Biol. Conserv 94:1121.
Flanders, A. A., Kuvlesky, W. P. Jr, Ruthven, D. C. III, Zaiglin, R. C., Bingham, R. L., Fulbright, T. E., Hernández, F., and Brennan, L. A. 2006. Effects of invasive exotic grasses on South Texas rangeland breeding birds. Auk 123:171182.
Gabbard, B. L. and Fowler, N. L. 2007. Wide ecological amplitude of a diversity reducing native grass. Biol. Invasions 9:149160.
Hanselka, C. W. 1988. Buffelgrass: south Texas wonder grass. Rangelands 10:279281.
Hickman, K. R., Farley, G. H., Channell, R., and Steier, J. E. 2006. Effects of Old World bluestem (Bothriochloa ischaemum) on food availability and avian community composition within the mixed-grass prairie. Southwest. Nat 51:524530.
Humphreys, L. R. 1967. Buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris) in Australia. Trop. Grassl 1:132134.
Kourtev, P. S., Ehrenfeld, J. G., and Häggblom, M. 2003. Experimental analysis of the effect of exotic and native plant species on the structure and function of soil microbial communities. Soil Biol. Biochem 35:895905.
Kuvlesky, W. P. Jr 2007. Effects of quail management on other wildlife. Pages 381406. In Brennan, L. A. Texas Quails: Ecology and Management. College Station, TX Texas A&M University Press.
Kuvlesky, W. P. Jr, Fulbright, T. E., and Engel-Wilson, R. 2002. The impact of invasive exotic grasses on quail in the southwestern United States. Proc. Nat. Quail Symp 5:118128.
Loreau, M., Naeem, S., and Inchausti, P. 2002. Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning. New York Oxford University Press.
McIvor, J. G. 2003. Competition affects survival and growth of buffel grass seedlings—is buffel grass a coloniser or invader? Trop. Grassl 37:176181.
McLendon, T. 1991. Preliminary description of the vegetation of south Texas exclusive of coastal saline zones. Tex. J. Sci 43:1332.
Milberg, P. and Lamont, B. B. 1995. Fire enhances weed invasion of roadside vegetation in southwestern Australia. Biol. Conserv 73:4549.
Mutz, J. L. and Scifres, C. J. 1975. Soil texture and planting depth influence buffelgrass emergence. J. Range Manag 28:222224.
[NRCS] Natural Resource Conservation Service Web Soil Survey 2008. http://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/app/. Accessed: May 29, 2008.
Pielou, E. C. 1975. Ecological Diversity. New York J. Wiley.
Rossiter, N. A., Setterfield, S. A., Douglas, M. M., and Hutley, L. B. 2003. Testing the grass-fire cycle: alien grass invasion in the tropical savannas of northern Australia. Divers. Distrib 9:169176.
Rutman, S. and Dickson, L. 2002. Management of buffelgrass on Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona. Pages 311318. In Tellman, B. Invasive Exotic Species in the Sonoran Region. Tucson, AZ The University of Arizona Press and The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.
Ruye, E. C. A. and Schuster, J. L. 1985. Buffelgrass: Adaptation, Management, and Forage Quality, Proceedings of a Symposium. Weslaco, TX Texas Agricultural Extension Service.
Sands, J. P. 2007. The Impacts of Invasive Exotic Grasses on Northern Bobwhite Habitat Use and Selection in South Texas. M.S. thesis. Kingsville, TX Texas A&M University-Kingsville. 106.
Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, 1981. Nueces and Llano buffelgrass. College Station, TX Texas A&M Extension Service L-1819. 3.
Vitousek, P. M. 1990. Biological invasions and ecosystem processes: towards an integration of population biology and ecosystem studies. Oikos 57:713.
Williams, D. G. and Baruch, Z. 2000. African grass invasion in the Americas: ecosystem consequences and the role of ecophysiology. Biol. Invasions 2:123140.
Williamson, J. and Pinkerton, B. 1985. Buffelgrass establishment. Pages 2529. In Ruye, E. C. A. and Schuster, J. L. Buffelgrass: Adaptation, Management, and Forage Quality, Proceedings of a Symposium. Weslaco, TX Texas Agricultural Extension Service.
Wilson, S. D. and Pärtel, M. 2003. Extirpation or coexistence? Management of a persistent introduced grass in a prairie restoration. Restor. Ecol 11:410416.

Keywords

Impacts of Buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare) on a Forb Community in South Texas

  • Joseph P. Sands (a1), Leonard A. Brennan (a1), Fidel Hernández (a1), William P. Kuvlesky (a1), James F. Gallagher (a2), Donald C. Ruthven (a2) and James E. Pittman (a1)...

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed