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Composition, Classification and Species Response Patterns of Remnant Tallgrass Prairies in Texas

David D. Diamond and Fred E. Smeins
The American Midland Naturalist
Vol. 113, No. 2 (Apr., 1985), pp. 294-308
Published by: University of Notre Dame
DOI: 10.2307/2425575
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2425575
Page Count: 15
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Composition, Classification and Species Response Patterns of Remnant Tallgrass Prairies in Texas
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Abstract

Thirty-five remnant upland grasslands within the Blackland, San Antonio, Fayette and Upper Coastal prairies were sampled for species frequency, foliage cover and richness. PCA ordination and cluster analysis were used to ordinate and classify these communities. The majority of these grasslands are dominated by Schizachyrium scoparium with Sorghastrum nutans the second most important species. Andropogon gerardii and Bouteloua curtipendula increase in importance with increasing soil clay content, organic matter and pH and decreasing total annual precipitation. Paspalum plicatulum becomes an important secondary species in communities over acid Alfisols in the Fayette Prairie and acid Alfisols and Vertisols of the Upper Coastal Prairie. High precipitation (>90 cm) areas over Alfisols at the northern end of the Blackland Prairie support a unique grassland dominated by Sporobolus silveanus with Carex meadii as an important secondary species. In this same area on Vertisols communities are found that are dominated by Tripsacum dactyloides and Panicum virgatum. Species respond independently and continuously along soil and climatic gradients except where locally sharp transitions occur between Alfisols and Vertisols. Species diversity did not vary significantly among communities. Soil pH was positively correlated with species richness, which was related to slightly higher richness of stands on Alfisols which have low pH, and slightly higher richness of Coastal Prairie stands which also have generally lower pH values.

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