Rocks-Drought-Rangeland Recovery

Went for a little ‘walk about’ yesterday and made some interesting observations. I have long said that the rocks of the West Texas area that I have the privilege of working with, have become more prevalent in my lifetime of caring for the rangeland. In short, that means erosion (At an almost imperceptible pace) of the limited soil of the hillsides has continued, and the rocks appear to be more prevalent and larger than when I was but a ‘munchkin’. This little ‘walkabout’ showed that even in the midst of the current dry spell the rocks are slowly becoming less noticeable and grasses like Black Grama, Side Oats and most excitingly Little Bluestem are filling in the open spaces of the very rocky terrain, with very little soil to move the rangeland to a higher successional-environmental level. Without proper grazing management (An effective graze-rest program) this would not be the case, the continuous grazing of the past only resulted in more erosion, even on the rocky hillsides that my great grandfather staked his legacy on. This was not his fault, as he did not have the knowledge to know that REST FROM GRAZING is a key factor within any RANGELAND-GRAZING program. We now have that understanding of the rangeland-grazing process and must uRockstilize that knowledge.

With ground litter, grasses and their roots systems the limited rainfall is slowed, resulting in better rainfall retention, thus the rocky hillside and the existing plants get more water per plant than in deeper soils during an extended dry spell.


Not a beautiful picture, but one that tells the recovery story well.

Extremely shallow soils showing slow recovery, even during drought. The next few years should tell and even bigger story.

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