South Texas Wildlife Management

Brush Management (Axe)

Brush Strip cleared by mechanical treatments - notice the diversity of plant structure

Most wildlife species are selective foragers, preferring to feed on a wide variety of plants rather than a few specific ones. Therefore, habitat improvement recommendations should emphasize the need for an even distribution of food supply from season to season, and the production of a wide variety of choice. Brush management or brush sculpturing allows solid stands of woody vegetation to be interspersed with cleared areas. Cleared strips or blocks produce desirable forb (weed) and browse production, while retaining an adequate mosaic of woody cover for escape, nesting, or protection from the elements. Properly utilized brush management practices can improve the menu of escape cover and food plants for both wildlife and livestock.




All brush management practices affect native populations in some way. Whether those impacts have a positive or negative affect is dependent on how the practice influences food supply and individual cover needs. When brush management techniques are used, it is important to remember these factors:

Today's wildlife managers use a combination of mechanical treatments with the ultimate goal of soil disturbance to increase water retention, and to reduce competition from undesirable woody vegetation by returning a plant community to its early successional growth stages. Resulting new growth exhibits increased nutritional levels, increased forage production, and increased forage palatability for most wildlife species. Available mechanical habitat manipulation tools include: