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The Cross Timbers: Botany, History, and Current Issues

Francaviglia, Richard [1].

The Cross Timbers.

For more than two centuries, the densely forested belts of oaks called the "Cross Timbers" have served as a landmark to the peoples of our region. The Texas Cross Timbers is actually part of a much larger forested area that extends from Waco north through Oklahoma and into Southeastern Kansas. Two types of trees in particular -- post oaks and blackjack oaks -- comprise much of the forest; however in many places the Cross Timbers has a dense understory of vines that make it nearly impenetrable to travelers. In the early 1830s, Washington Irving called the Cross Timbers of Indian Territory (today's Oklahoma) "forests of cast iron." This presentation provides an historical overview of the Cross Timbers of Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Historical maps, diaries, journals, reports, and other sources will be used to show how the Cross Timbers changed from about 1800 to the present. Beginning about 1845, and increasing dramatically with the development of the railroads, large portions of the Cross Timbers yielded to the axes of the settlers. Because the Cross Timbers exists close to many large cities, such as Dallas-Fort Worth, Tulsa, and Oklahoma City, it has also experienced tremendous pressures from urban development in recent years. And yet, in numerous places, one can still find patches of virgin Cross Timbers. Using color slides taken through the seasons in various portions of the Cross Timbers, this presentation will show that these forests are an important resource worthy of our attention, appreciation, and conservation.

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1 - University of Texas at Arlington, History - Center for Greater Southwestern Studies, 702 College Street, Box 19497, Arlington, Texas, 76019, United States

Cross Timbers
Environmental Change
Post Oak
Blackjack Oak.

Presentation Type: Symposium or Colloquium Presentation
Session: 23-5
Location: Salon J - Austin Grand Ballroom/Hilton
Date: Tuesday, August 16th, 2005
Time: 10:15 AM
Abstract ID:438

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