Tabosa Grass, the Grassland Indicator Species

The Painted Pony Resort's grassland restoration project is aimed at restoring the native grasslands once so common through out New Mexico and the southwest.  In the segment of the San Simon riverbed on the estate the major grass species is Tabosa,  Pleuraphis mutica. This drought tolerant grass species is a major component of the grasslands and as restoration work proceeds this species is a useful qualitative indicator species of the restoration process.

Slowly new Tabosa grass is moving up out of the riverbed and back onto the landscape where grazers are excluded.  Below is a photograph from the riverbed showing complete ground coverage while the next image is from a bench above the riverbed where  grasses are being recovered.  The presence of new stands of Tabosa grass indicate that the seed reservoir concept is producing results.  While the topsoil restoration barriers have produced annual grasses during their first year, the eventual presence of the perennial Tabosa grass along the barriers will mark the next step in the restoration process and a shift from annuals to perennial grasses.

Tabosa grass in the San Simon riverbed (the seed reservoir)

Tabosa grass on the upland benches

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