At the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch, everything points to quail. Our primary goal is to maximize “usable space” for quail on the landscape 365 days of the year. There is an important distinction for the land manager to understand when discussing the improvement of habitat for maximization of usable space versus creating an “ideal” habitat.
Through our Texas Land Trends project, we have been tracking and telling the story of rural land use changes and trends across the state for the past few decades. Using remotely sensed data, we can better illustrate these changes; especially those related to urban and energy industry growth.
Through a partnership between the Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute and the Texas Longleaf Taskforce, a counterpart of the America’s Longleaf Restoration Initiative working to restore longleaf pine ecosystems on private and public forestlands in Texas, the Landowner Longleaf Challenge launched in March of this year gaining an unrivaled momentum over the last 5 months.
As a new landowner, it is crucial to keep wildlife top-of-mind when developing land management plans. This requires knowing which species are present on a particular tract of land, as well as understanding the relationship each species has with its habitat and the ways in which it sculpts the landscape.
Early in their ecology classes, students learn that plants and animals facing a changing climate have three options: adapt, move or die. Learn more about Stephanie DeMay’s, NRI associate research scientist, analysis of the Red-cockaded Woodpecker.
Texas is home to four species of quail, and many Texans consider these birds to be iconic state species, fondly recalling hunting them, watching them, or just listening to their songs. Despite widespread interest in quail, their overall abundance has declined significantly over the past few decades. Recent research efforts, such as those funded by the Reversing the Decline of Quail in Texas Initiative, seek to determine what factors are contributing to the decline of quail in Texas.
Conservation biology and land management are research cornerstones at NRI, and we're fortunate to be able to build sound-science resources for private and public entities across the U.S. But it's no surprise when working lands comprise more than 82% of Texas's land area that our largest end-users are private landowners, working heuristically to solve natural resource challenges.
The much anticipated 2019 Statewide Quail Symposium kicked off with the August 14th field day located at the MT7 Ranch in Breckenridge, TX. More than 140 attendees joined a caravan of white pickup trucks to learn from habitat management experts at the MT7, including several members of the ranch’s management team, Texas A&M Natural Resources Institute (NRI) professionals, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) representatives, and others...
After reviewing the complexities of soil management, gaining knowledge about vegetation is the next crucial step in a new landowner’s management education. Let's dive into the different plant ID resources at your disposal and take an intentional look at the uses of vegetation for wildlife and practical ways to manage your property to encourage the right kind of plant growth.
Raptors, a.k.a. “birds of prey,” include eagles, hawks, falcons, owls and many other species. The term raptor is derived from the Latin word rapio, meaning to seize or take by force; this is quite apt as raptors will often swoop down and seize prey with their large talons. But which species are the main predators of quail?
Private Land Stewardship is a core component of our mission at the NRI, and our goal is to provide landowners with the resources they need to better care for their land. For new or future landowners, the best time to gather knowledge and information is before making management decisions that will have lasting effects on the land. Thinking of well-managed land conjures up images of lush, green fields and healthy wildlife populations, but it is important to stop and consider where it all begins—with the cultivation of healthy soils.
NRI's very own communications student technician shares with us about her study abroad to Namibia to learn about photojournalism and applied agriculture practices.
No hunting license? No problem…at least when it comes to wild pigs.
Earlier this year, NRI was invited by the the San Antonio Board of REALTORS® (SABOR) Farm and Land Committee to present the story behind Texas Land Trends: How and Why Texas is Changing.
NRI’s wild pig reporting web-page, developed by the institute’s data analytics team, provides a unique portal for data to be reported not only in Texas, but anywhere wild pigs are observed.
Using ecological expertise and remote sensing technology, we are working to assess the severity of disturbance to coastal forests caused by Hurricane Irma and track the recovery of natural vegetation providing habitat for endangered species in the Keys.
Maintaining the natural beauty of Long Acres Ranch is an ever-evolving task, and as many land and natural resource managers would say, an immersive experience.
Started in 2006 by the United States Congress, Endangered Species Day, the third Friday of May every year, is a celebration of the nation’s wildlife and wild places.
Read about this year’s successful EarthX Dallas conference, held from April 26-28, with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and NRI’s Reversing the Quail Decline Initiative booth.
Learn about the recent trip NRI’s “Herp” team embarked on in a state-wide GIS-based analysis to create “heat” maps, using existing TxDOT roadway segments, where transportation will likely impact reptile and amphibian species on the SGCN list.
How a direct interaction with an animal ambassador can support early adoption in young adults and children to adopt long-lasting conservation-based behaviors.
SERPPAS developed a Strategic Plan for 2018 - 2020 to focus their efforts and serve as a road map for success. Over the last year, SERPPAS has focused on developing the ‘Good Map’ in order to better implement some of the objectives from the plan.
The Texas Longleaf Taskforce launched a campaign to reach more Texas forest landowners looking to bring back the longleaf pine by connecting to longleaf resource specialists.
Private landowners and experts alike gathered March 21 to participate in the 2019 Urban Quail Appreciation Day at Long Acres Ranch.
Listen to Dr. Roel Lopez and Blair Fitzsimons, CEO of Texas Agricultural Land Trust, provide clarity on the importance of conservation easements in Texas from ensuring the public benefits remain available to helping future generations through the actions we can take now.
Our latest Texas Land Trends report examines conservation easements, an important tool that can complement both landowner and public needs by supporting rural economies, creating recreational opportunities. and providing intrinsic benefits.
Wild pigs (Sus scrofa) have gained quite a reputation for being aggressive towards humans and companion animals. A quick Google or YouTube search can easily lead one to believe these animals routinely grow to enormous sizes and will readily attack and eat humans or pets when given an opportunity. The truth about human and wild pig interactions, however, is not nearly that sensational. This article will explore research conducted on human-wild pig interactions, and will attempt to separate the facts from the substantial lore surrounding this topic.
The end of 2017 had quail enthusiasts across the state of Texas holding their breath. Years 2015 and 2016 had been remarkable for quail with record numbers of birds heard, seen and hunted, and the highest values yet recorded in the Texas Quail Index monitoring program. While 2017 wasn’t a bust by any means, we saw a leveling off of the meteoric rise in quail numbers in many parts of the state. High carryover from the preceding years ensured that there were still plenty of birds around at the start of hunting season, but it felt like our rollercoaster was nearing its apex and preparing to plummet down the other side.
At Long Acres Ranch, we have teaching opportunities that link youth with lessons revolving around the ranch’s natural resources. Recently, we partnered with the Seven Lakes High School FFA, located in Katy I.S.D. in Ft. Bend County, to fabricate a structure called a Rainfall Simulator.