Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Agricultural, Environmental, and Sustainability Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Frank Dirrigl Jr.

Second Advisor

Dr. Russell Skowronek

Third Advisor

Dr. Andrew McDonald


Historic and current anthropogenic land-use activities affect ecological functions and ecosystem services quality. The clearing of native Tamaulipan thorn forest and riparian forests for agricultural use and expansion followed by rapid urbanization and population growth resulted in profound ecological impacts to the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV), Texas. The goals of this study are 1) document trends in land use change and vegetation health in the LRGV 2) evaluate and demonstrate the application of the Ecosystem Services Identification & Inventory Tool (ESII Tool) for collecting ecological data and measuring percent ecological performance and 3) use historical ecology indicators to compare past and present land use (agriculture, pasture, and recreation) impacts on measuring ecosystem services. The use of historical ecology indicators to compliment current site ecological conditions generated important ecosystem service measures useful to assessments and conservation land-use planning and management.


Copyright 2019 Julianna Katherine Schaefer Kurpis. All Rights Reserved.