Soils in the Hill Country of Texas have been subjected to numerous severe disturbances over the last 150 years. If Mountain Cedars hadn't morphed from trees in forests and woodlands into pioneering thickets of bushy-cedars, our soils would be much more degraded today.

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Website Building Application

Research Needs

DNA Sequencing

During research it was discovered there are at least two species of Mountain Cedars growing in the Hill Country. The first is the commonly known Juniperus asshei. The second was identified through a chemical analysis and DNA sequencing by a team led by Dr. Robert Adams. They called this more ancestral juniper Juniperus ovata. However, during recent studies have revealed what could be a hybrid of these two species. The J. ashei whip leaf glands are always round and J. ovata, oval. Yet these other trees exhibit both round and oval leaf glands. Dr. Adams theorized these could be hybrids and perhaps a third species. These trees always have well-defined central trunks. They are not bushy with multiple-trunks the way J. ashei most often is. It has been suggested that the well-defined trunks are a result of shade, however they have been found growing in full sun. Perhaps access to subsurface water affects growing conditions. But it still doesn't explain the two different gland shapes.

A research team is being assembled. Due to the passing of Dr. Adams, his data must first be acquired before funding efforts can begin.

Mycorrhizal Fungi Associations

Study the relations between Mountain Cedars acting as pioneering  growing on degraded soils versus those growing in old-growth woodlands and forests.

Branches and Foliage as Livestock Feed

TAMU study only considered lamb feed. Expand the study to other livestock. Focus only on using pioneering bushy-cedars.

Signal Hills Land Management

When explorers traveled the Hill Country in the 1700s and 1800s, they often commented on hills that appeared to be bald/mostly grass, while most others were covered with trees. It is possible that these hills were managed by Native Americans and serves as smnoke signal hills. Conducting archeological digs on top of these hills could lend some answers. Also, mapping out the occurrence using GIS and spot elevations to see if a clear line of site would have existed.