PRESERVING BIODIVERSITY: THE SECRET LIFE OF THE TEXAS HILL COUNTRY
The Hill Country/Edwards Plateau region, with its springs, caves, and rugged canyons, is home to one of Earth’s great biodiversity hotspots. An assessment of the region by the Nature Conservancy in 2004 found that “this varied ecological setting . . . makes the Edwards Plateau one of the most diverse biological regions in the world.” Within the region, there are more than 50 known species of plants and animals that live nowhere else.
There are also an untold number of species waiting to be discovered. As one study stated, “[t]here are of course undiscovered caves with undiscovered species, undiscovered species in known caves, and undescribed species from one or more caves.” A similar observation can be made about the “island” habitats created by Hill Country springs.