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Native Soft Mast of East Texas and the Western Coastal Plain

Cover of Native Soft Mast of East Texas and the Western Coastal PlainNative Soft Mast and the Western Coastal Plain
A publication by the East Texas Plant Materials Center

Fleshy fruit (soft mast) is a key food resource for many game and non-game wildlife species. Most species of birds and mannals consume fruit at least occasionally. Fruit consumption has been linked to mammalian survival and reproductive sucess. Abundant fruit in young forests may be a particularly important high-energy food source for neotropical migratory birds during fall migration. During winter, soft mast is important to many vertebrates when other food resources are scarce. Land managers need to know how fruit availability varies among forest types and age-classes, seasonally, and over time as forests mature. Source:  USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station

The plants featured in the publication, Native Soft Mast and the Western Coastal Plain (PDF; 618 KB), are common to the East Texas Plant Materials Center service area and are utilized by multiple species of wildlife from large mammals to migrant neotropical birds. They were selected to provide overlapping periods of soft mast availability throughout the course of the year.  Some species have improved cultivars developed by the Plant Materials Program and other agencies, and most, if not all, are available from commercial sources.