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Classification
Scientific Name: East-Central Texas Plains Post Oak Savanna and Woodland
Unique Identifier: CES205.679

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Summary: This ecological system is found in east-central Texas in a broad, northeast/southwest-trending band located west of the Upper West Gulf Coastal Plain, northwest of the Coastal Prairie, and east and south of the Blackland Prairie ecoregions. It exhibits some floristic and physiognomic variation across this northeast-southwest gradient, losing some eastern species and picking up some species with more western affinities. It is distinguished from the nearby prairie by the higher density of trees and diversity of woody species. The system differs from the floristically similar Crosstimbers Oak Forest and Woodland (CES205.682) in that it generally occurs on Tertiary (primarily Eocene) geologic formations on the east-central Texas Plains, while the related Crosstimbers ecological system occupies Cretaceous and older formations of the interior plains. Floristically, Post Oak Savanna (at least north of the Colorado River) contains species of more eastern affinities such as Callicarpa americana, Sassafras albidum, Cornus florida, Vaccinium arboreum, Ulmus alata, and particularly Ilex vomitoria, the latter species being absent from Crosstimbers Oak Forest and Woodland (CES205.682). Post Oak Savanna generally occurs on sandy or loamy soils, often underlain by a claypan subsoil. Rainfall ranges from about 120 cm in the northeastern part of the range to about 70 cm in the southwest, where it becomes increasingly erratic. Therefore moisture is often limiting during part of the growing season. The system was historically characterized as having significant areas of graminoid cover with species composition resembling that of nearby prairie systems, punctuated by short, stunted woodlands and forests dominated by Quercus stellata and Quercus marilandica. Drought, grazing, and fire are the primary natural processes that affect this system. Much of this system has been impacted by conversion to improved pasture or crop production. Overgrazing and fire suppression have led to increased woody cover on most extant occurrences and the invasion of some areas by problematic brush species such as Juniperus virginiana var. virginiana and Prosopis glandulosa in the southern part of the system's range. These factors have also led to decreases in native grass cover allowing for annual grasses and forbs to invade.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: Vegetation of East-Central Texas Plains Xeric Sandyland (CES205.897) can be embedded within the matrix-forming East-Central Texas Plains Post Oak Savanna and Woodland (CES205.679). East-Central Texas Plains Xeric Sandyland (CES205.897) was formerly called Crosstimbers Southern Xeric Sandhill but has been renamed to reflect this relationship.

Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES205.682 Crosstimbers Oak Forest and Woodland
CES205.897 East-Central Texas Plains Xeric Sandyland


Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL002074 Quercus stellata - Quercus marilandica - (Carya texana) Forest
CEGL002147 Quercus stellata - Quercus marilandica / Schizachyrium scoparium Woodland
CEGL002155 Quercus virginiana - Quercus stellata / Schizachyrium scoparium - Paspalum plicatulum Woodland
CEGL002324 Quercus stellata - Quercus marilandica - Carya texana - (Quercus shumardii, Quercus velutina) Forest
CEGL004546 Quercus stellata - Ulmus alata Forest
CEGL004935 Quercus stellata - Juniperus virginiana Ruderal Forest



Classifiers

Land Cover Class: Forest and Woodland
Spatial Pattern: Matrix
Natural/Seminatural: No
Vegetated ( > 10% vascular cover):
Upland: Yes
Wetland: No
Isolated Wetland: No

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Forest and Woodland (Treed)  
Loam Soil Texture  
Sand Soil Texture  

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Brazoria truncata var. pulcherrima
  (Centerville Brazos-mint)
G4T3  
Catocala delilah
  (Delilah Underwing)
G3G4  
Catocala herodias herodias
  (Herodias Underwing)
G3T3  

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
acter-
istic
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Con-
stancy
%
Carya texana G4 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus marilandica G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus stellata G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Quercus fusiformis G5 Broad-leaved evergreen tree Tree canopy    
 
 
Brazoria truncata var. pulcherrima T3 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
 
 
Nassella leucotricha G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 
Sporobolus cryptandrus G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
 
 


Animal Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status Charact-
eristic
Exotic
Aspidoscelis sexlineata
  (Six-lined Racerunner)
G5      
Catocala delilah
  (Delilah Underwing)
G3G4      
Catocala herodias herodias
  (Herodias Underwing)
G3T3      
Catocala jair
  (Jair Underwing)
G4?      
Catocala messalina
  (Messalina Underwing)
G4?      
Coluber constrictor
  (North American Racer)
G5      
Plestiodon septentrionalis
  (Prairie Skink)
G5      
Sceloporus olivaceus
  (Texas Spiny Lizard)
G5      
Sceloporus undulatus
  (Eastern Fence Lizard)
G5      
Storeria dekayi
  (Dekay's Brownsnake)
G5      


Distribution
Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: OK, TX
Global Range: This ecological system is found in east-central Texas in a broad, northeast/southwest-trending band located west of the Upper West Gulf Coastal Plain, northwest of the Coastal Prairie, and east and south of the Blackland Prairie ecoregions. An arm extends along the Red River in north Texas.

Biogeographic Divisions
Division Code and Name Primary Occurrence Status
203-Gulf and Atlantic Coastal Plain P: Predicted or probable
205-Eastern Great Plains C: Confident or certain

The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Ecoregions
Code Name Occurrence Status
31 Gulf Coast Prairies and Marshes Confident or certain
32 Crosstimbers and Southern Tallgrass Prairie Confident or certain
40 Upper West Gulf Coastal Plain Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
32 Southeastern Great Plains Predicted or probable
35 Edwards Plateau Predicted or probable
36 Western Gulf Plains Confident or certain
37 Ouachita Hills and Delta Confident or certain

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 4158
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1519
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2519

West Landfire Legend: No
East Landfire Legend: Yes

Authors/Contributors
Element Description Edition Date: 14Jan2014
Element Description Author(s): L. Elliott, J. Teague, M. Pyne

Ecological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).


References
  • Barbour, M. G., and W. D. Billings, editors. 1988. North American terrestrial vegetation. Cambridge University Press, New York. 434 pp.

  • Bartlett, R. C. 1995. Saving the best of Texas: A partnership approach to conservation. University of Texas Press, Austin.

  • Bezanson, D. 2000. Natural vegetation types of Texas and their representation in conservation areas. M.A. thesis, University of Texas, Austin. [http://tconr.home.texas.net/Vegetation/]

  • Campbell, E. G. 1925. Plant relations in Brazos County, Texas with special reference to eastern and western types. Ecology 6(2):163-170.

  • Comer, P., D. Faber-Langendoen, R. Evans, S. Gawler, C. Josse, G. Kittel, S. Menard, C. Nordman, M. Pyne, M. Reid, M. Russo, K. Schulz, K. Snow, J. Teague, and R. White. 2003-present. Ecological systems of the United States: A working classification of U.S. terrestrial systems. NatureServe, Arlington, VA.

  • Elliott, L. 2011. Draft descriptions of systems, mapping subsystems, and vegetation types for Phases I, II, III, and IV. Unpublished documents. Texas Parks and Wildlife Ecological Systems Classification and Mapping Project. Texas Natural History Survey, The Nature Conservancy of Texas, San Antonio.

  • Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.

  • Griffith, G. E., S. A. Bryce, J. M. Omernik, J. A. Comstock, A. C. Rogers, B. Harrison, S. L. Hatch, and D. Bezanson. 2004. Ecoregions of Texas (two-sided color poster with map, descriptive text, summary tables, and photographs). U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA. Scale 1:2,500,000.

  • Loucks, C. 1999. East-central Texas forests. Pages 196-197 in: T. Ricketts, E. Dinerstein, and D. Olson, editors. Terrestrial ecoregions of North America: A conservation assessment. Island Press, Washington, DC.

  • MacRoberts, B. R., M. H. MacRoberts, and J. C. Cathey. 2002b. Floristics of xeric sandylands in the Post Oak Savanna region of east Texas. Sida 20(1):373-386.

  • MacRoberts, M. H., B. R. MacRoberts, B. A. Sorrie, and R. E. Evans. 2002a. Endemism in the West Gulf Coastal Plain: Importance of xeric habitats. Sida 20:767-780.

  • MacRoberts, M. H., and B. R. MacRoberts. 2004. The Post Oak Savanna ecoregion: A floristic assessment of its uniqueness. Sida 21(1):399-407.

  • McBride, J. B. 1933. The vegetation and habitat factors of the Carrizo sands. Ecological Monographs 3:247-297.

  • Midwood, A. J., T. W. Boutton, S. R. Archer, and S. E. Watts. 1998. Water use by woody plants on contrasting soils in a savanna parkland: Assessment with H and O. Plant and Soil 205:13-24.

  • Parmalee, P. 1955. Some factors affecting nesting success of the Bob-white Quail in east-central Texas. American Midland Naturalist 53(1):45-55.

  • Ricketts, T. H., E. Dinerstein, D. M. Olson, C. J. Loucks, and W. Eichbaum. 1999. Terrestrial ecoregions of North America: A conservation assessment. Island Press, Washington, DC. 485 pp.

  • Singhurst, J. R., J. C. Cathy, D. Prochaska, H. Haucke, G. C. Kroh, and W. C. Holmes. 2004. The vascular flora of Gus Engeling Wildlife Management Area, Anderson County, Texas. Southeastern Naturalist 2(3):347-368.

  • Smeins, F. E., and D. D. Diamond. 1986a. Grasslands and savannahs of east central Texas: Ecology, preservation status and management problems. Pages 381-394 in: D. L. Kulhavy and R. N. Conner, editors. Wilderness and natural areas in the eastern United States: A management challenge. Central Applied Studies, School of Forestry, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX.

  • Stambaugh, M. C., J. Sparks, R. P. Guyette, and G. Wilson. 2011b. Fire history of a relict oak woodland in northeast Texas. Rangeland Ecology and Management 64:419-423.

  • TPDW [Texas Parks and Wildlife Department]. 2012a. Texas Conservation Action Plan 2012-2016: East Central Texas Plains Handbook. W. Connally, editor, Texas Conservation Action Plan Coordinator. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Austin, TX.

  • Tharp, B. 1926. Structure of Texas vegetation east of the 98th meridian. University of Texas Bulletin 2606:45-54.

  • Ward, J. R., and E. S. Nixon. 1992. Woody vegetation of the dry, sandy uplands of eastern Texas. Texas Journal of Science 44(3):283-294.


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