Lyndon B. Johnson National Grasslands

    The Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ) National Grasslands is a national park located in Wise County, Texas, about 40 miles northwest of Fort Worth, consisting of 20,309 acres. The park is divided into 72 separate units interspersed among privately owned land throughout the northeast portion of Wise County. Established in the 1930s from land abandoned during the Dust Bowl, the area represents an ongoing experiment about ecosystem recovery post development.

     

    Over the last 12 years, BRIT researchers, led by Research Associate Bob O’Kennon, have conducted an ongoing floristic inventory of the LBJ Grasslands. O’Kennon has documented  over 1,200 species from the grasslands, including 15 species that were not previously known from North Central Texas and three species not previously known to science. The LBJ Grasslands provides a unique opportunity to understand the natural flora of the area and the affects of land use practices on this particular habitat/ecosystem. This baseline knowledge of the flora makes the LBJ Grasslands a prime candidate for the National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON). NEON is an observatory network collecting data on the impacts of climate change, land-use, and invasive species on natural resources and biodiversity. Beginning in 2013 the LBJ Grasslands will provide a baseline of data for the Southern Plains Division of NEON. BRIT will collaborate with researchers in other fields to document the effects of climate change and land-use change on the flora and fauna of the region.

     

     
    Kim Norton and Bob O'Kennon searching for interesting plans at the LBJ National Grasslands during December 2010.  Dalea reverchonii (Comanche Peak Prairie Clover) is a rare plant found on Walnut Barrens. This rare plant, known from only three counties in Texas, is only one member of the unique flora that comprises the Walnut Barren communinty. It has been transplanted to several sites within the LBJ grasslands.

    BRIT Research Associate Bob O'Kennon, is conducting research in Unit 31 at the LBJ National Grasslands. Here he is surrounded by Dodecatheon meadia (Shooting Stars).