La Copita Research Area:
The La Copita Research Area is a 2726 acre tract of eastern Rio Grande Plains of the Tamaulipan Biotic Province. The vegetation is subtropical savanna parkland comprised of discrete shrub clusters (consisting of a single honey mesquite tree with up to 15 understory shrub species) and larger groves (consisting of multiple mesquite tree with associated understory shrubs) embedded within a grassland matrix. The grasslands consist mainly of rhizomatous and weakly caespitose C4 grasses, and C3 forbs. Clusters and groves are dominated by honey mesquite and Zanthoxylum fagara (lime prickly ash).
The Range Science Research Area is a great example of Post Oak woodland. The local climate is subtropical and temperate and winters are mild with periods of low temperatures usually lasting less than two months. Snow and ice are extremely rare. Summers are warm and hot with occasional showers being the only real variation in weather. The Post Oak Savannah is a transition zone between the blackland prairies to the west and the Pineywoods to the east. This ecosystem is part of a historic oak belt, which travels south from Canada towards Central America. Few true examples of old-growth Post Oak Savannah in Texas still exist today.
|La Copita Research Area|
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