Before tall trees, East Texas had tall grasses - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Before tall trees, East Texas had tall grasses

By Donna McCollum

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Buffalo grass, Blue stem, Indian grass. Just the names of these native grasses conjure up what a trail boss may have viewed centuries ago. Thus a fitting logo for the Texas Section of the Society for Range Management. Members are in Nacogdoches learning how to restore native lands.  The society's president, Jerry Payne said, " They're excellent for cattle, for wildlife. They were natural species that the good Lord put here to start with and they've been abused in some cases and they disappear over periods of use, so we hope to restore a lot of areas and mange the ones that are still left. "

East Texas is not generally thought of as range land. But before tall trees, the region had tall grasses. This is something quickly disappearing with urban sprawl and fragmentation of properties.  Jim Stevens, manager of the East Texas Plant Material Center said, "We have lost a lot of native grasslands. They have been converted over to introduced pasture grasses as well as we're losing a lot of our natural grass over to development." The center is where these native grasses are restored for use on ranches, in forests or even backyards. Stevens said, "It will attract such things as birds, wild turkey, as well as just your pollinators themselves. Butterflies. A lot of people like sitting on the porch, just watching the wildlife. "    The use of native grasses can provide one more connection to the native lands of Texas.

The conference will continue through Friday at the Fredonia Hotel in Nacogdoches. www.texasrangelands.org

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