Ecological Restoration & Land Stewardship

Improving the health of the landscape

Ecological restoration is the process of assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has been disturbed. The Arboretum was damaged after the back-to-back events of Hurricane Ike in 2008 and the drought of 2011. The landscape had also been degraded through decades of invasive plant growth. In response to these events, the Arboretum’s Conservation team created an urban ecological restoration plan to improve biodiversity and repair important ecosystem services. Using tools like historical photographs, soil analysis, topographical mapping, and vegetation studies, the team created a Master Plan to guide the Arboretum’s landscape to become more resilient and diverse.

Land stewardship at the Arboretum is an ongoing process of management to nurture our native ecosystems and keep the site healthy. This involves using or mimicking processes like naturally occurring fire and grazing by large animals; processes that have until now been suppressed or controlled by human intervention. While the mission to restore and conserve these emerging ecosystems will never end, the Arboretum’s habitats are becoming increasingly self-sustaining and able to survive future climate disturbances.

Learn More


Prescribed Fire

Master Plan

Field Notes Workbook

Photo credit Anthony Rathbun, Charles Mayer Photography, Brandon Huttenlocher / Design Workshop, Inc

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The Houston Arboretum & Nature Center is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization which depends on donations to support nature education and conservation programs for Houstonians of all ages.

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The Arboretum grounds, including the trails and Nature Playscape, will REOPEN on Thursday, July 18! All classes and events through Sunday, July 21 have been cancelled, and the Nature Center building remains closed at this time.