March 25, 2006 - Posted at 12:14 p.m. CST
LITTLE ROCK (AP) _ The Cross Timbers ecosystem that is a
recognized geographic element of central Oklahoma and northern
Texas apparently has a few outriders in western Arkansas.
University of Arkansas researchers Daniel Griffin and Jesse
Edmondson made presentations Friday to a conference on old-growth
timber. Both focused on the Cross Timbers area that is a transition
zone between western grasslands and eastern forests.
Griffin speculates that the region got its name from its
characteristic alternation with grasslands in Oklahoma and Texas.
He says pioneers saw belts of the forest running north-to-south
across the grasslands.
The researchers say the nature of the woodlands would have
caught the pioneers' attention because it was much more difficult
to traverse than the grasslands.
The Cross Timbers terrain is significant because it has a high
proportion of old-growth forest. In Arkansas, the section still
standing is on land at the former Fort Chaffee near Fort Smith. The
researchers say how that land will be managed or used is still an