Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Agricultural, Environmental, and Sustainability Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Christopher Gabler

Second Advisor

Dr. Frederic Zaidan

Third Advisor

Dr. Karl Berg


Tamaulipan thornscrub forests have high ecological and economic value, yet over 90% of these forests have been lost, primarily due to agriculture and urban expansion, and they remain threatened, making them a conservation hotspot. For decades, federal, state, NGO, and corporate entities have been acquiring land and actively or passively restoring these forests, but results have been mixed and seldom monitored. This study characterized and quantified faunal communities of restored thornscrub forest habitats in south Texas and examined the relationships between restored faunal communities and key site characteristics and environmental factors. We surveyed and analyzed mammals, birds, Lepidoptera, and herptiles within 12 restored sites in the eastern Lower Rio Grande Valley. Results indicated that if actively restoring a site, efforts towards invasive plant control, fostering native plant diversity, and ensuring there is a nearby water source are likely the most practical steps that can be taken to encourage faunal recolonization.


Copyright 2023 Audrey J. Hicks. All Rights Reserved.