The objectives of this study was to determine the vegetative diversity and the effects of the edge between fairways (introduced patches) and out-of-bounds areas (remnant patches) to determine if such management activities influence plant diversity. This study was conducted at the Pineywoods Country Club in the Pineywoods Region of East Texas near Nacogdoches, TX, USA by assessing the spatial distribution of these matrices and patches and their influence on edge effect composition and structure in the matrix; and, if species diversity and composition differed between these edges and interior of the matrices. Nested plots were placed along transects and canopy cover, percent cover, number of individuals by species, tree density, and percent cover of ground cover materials were analyzed using ordination. Dbh, shrub and herbaceous percent cover, and canopy cover were tested for normality utilizing a Shapiro-Wilk normality test, Wilcoxon-Mann-Whitney was used to analyze edge plots and interior plots, and @RISK goodness-of-fit measures were utilized to identify percent cover data distributions. Statistical differences (0.05 α level) between the edge and interior dbh and shrub datasets and a similarity between the edge and interior datasets of the overstory and herbaceous strata were found. Many of the interior shrub plots had a higher H’ (Shannon-Wiener index) and D (Simpson’s index) than the edge plots. Canopy cover was often over 70%, and herbaceous species abundance was often higher (1-11 species) than that of the shrub stratum (1-3 species). Beta diversity indicated that the remnant patches were diverse ( between 0.19-0.30) within all three strata. Natural and anthropogenic disturbances altered the structure and function of the remnant patches: tree density decreased in edge plots due to management. Canopy cover was high over edge plots; however, light was able to reach the ground at an angle across the fairway. Past and current management practices combined with disturbance events have caused the interior of the remnant patches to be disturbed to the degree that they were not representative of the Pineywoods eco-region. The exceptional drought in 2011 may have influenced these results. It was not determined whether the fairway patches within the forest matrix resulted in edge effects.
Oswald, Brian P.; Lanham, Penny G.; Williams, Hans M.; and Kulhavy, David, "Assessing the Vegetative Diversity of an East Texas Golf Course using Principles of Landscape Ecology" (2017). Faculty Publications. 468.