Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Agricultural, Environmental, and Sustainability Sciences

First Advisor

Christopher Gabler

Second Advisor

Robin A. Choudhury

Third Advisor

Pushpa Soti


Though the rate of deforestation has slowed in recent years, it remains a primary cause of land cover change within forest ecosystems. The Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas (LRGV) has lost nearly 95% of its native thornforest since the early 1900’s due to agricultural and urban expansion. The focus of this study is to assess the current vegetative state of restored thornforest sites located in the eastern LRGV and to evaluate the use of cover crops during replanting of native seedlings. Our assessment of restored thornforest sites revealed actively restored sites demonstrated higher overall averages of richness, abundance, and diversity than passively restored sites and the presence of Urochloa maxima generates a homogenizing effect on vegetation composition in 26 survey points. Regarding cover crops, germination and persistence was relatively low and did not effectively suppress invasive vegetation. Seedling species determined survival and plant band use demonstrated higher seedling growth.


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