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Invasive Saltcedar Triggers Lively Debate among Weed Scientists and Land Managers
Date:8/24/2009

This release from the Weed Science Society of America highlights a recent debate among weed scientists about how -- or even whether -- invasive saltcedar should be controlled. The Society contends that ongoing scientific research is vital so we can answer critical questions about our natural ecosystems and carefully weigh the impact of our decisions.

Lawrence, KS (PRWEB) August 24, 2009 -- Saltcedar (Tamarix spp.) is an invasive plant that is crowding out native vegetation and dominating the shorelines of southwestern rivers and streams. But put a room full of weed scientists and land managers together to discuss how to tame the aggressive plant and you'll trigger a lively debate about how - or even whether - it should be controlled.

That was the experience during a recent symposium on the biological control of invasive plants that was held in conjunction with the annual conference of the Western Society of Weed Science.

According to a symposium presentation by Dr. Allen Knutson of Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas A&M University, saltcedar was introduced in the Southwest for erosion control. It found an accommodating home in the region's river systems and spread fast with seasonal flooding. Over time, riverside and streamside landscapes of cottonwood, willow, native grasses and flowering plants were pushed aside by wide ribbons of saltcedar.

"Though the full impact of such a drastic change in the natural landscape will probably never be fully understood, there are some well-documented outcomes from the spread of saltcedar," Knutson said. "Because of its dense growth pattern, it consumes large quantities of water and can impact rivers, lakes and desert waterholes. It lowers groundwater levels and has been known to deplete ponds and streams to the detriment of fish and wildlife."

In an attempt to restore natural river ecosyst
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