Navigation Links
Invasive Saltcedar Triggers Lively Debate among Weed Scientists and Land Managers

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 ecosystems, both targeted aerial applications of herbicides and labor-intensive mechanical operations have been used to remove saltcedar, sometimes with long-term success. Now land managers are adding new biological control agents to their arsenal by releasing saltcedar leaf beetles (Diorhabda elongata) imported from China and Greece. The small insects strip saltcedar of its leaves, while ignoring native vegetation.

"Symposium participants had a spirited debate about whether release of a biological control for saltcedar in the Southwest is a good idea or a bad one," said April Fletcher of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "But I believe everyone left the symposium with a greater appreciation of how complex the issues of saltcedar control are, and how many questions remain unanswered."

Many of those unanswered questions involved the ecosystem of the Southwest. If saltcedar is removed, will native species return? Or have groundwater levels and flooding patterns been changed so much as a result of human activities that the original cottonwood galleries will be unable to grow? If saltcedar stands are controlled, what will happen to wildlife species that now depend on the shrub for nesting sites, including the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus)? Participants also had lots of questions about the potential for unintended consequences from the voracious saltcedar leaf beetle.

"Though we've made great progress in controlling some of the nation's most destructive plants and weeds, the debate over saltcedar shows ongoing research is vital," said Lee Van Wychen, science policy director for the Weed Science Society of America. "Taking a science-based approach can help us answer critical questions about our natural ecosystems and carefully weigh the impact of the decisions we make."

For a closer look at symposium presentations on saltcedar, biological control strategies and other topics, visit

About the Weed Science Society of America:
The Weed Science Society of America, a nonprofit professional society, was founded in 1956 to encourage and promote the development of knowledge concerning weeds and their impact on the environment. The Weed Science Society of America promotes research, education and extension outreach activities related to weeds, provides science-based information to the public and policy makers, and fosters awareness of weeds and their impacts on managed and natural ecosystems. For more information, visit

Editor's Note:
A photo of the saltcedar leaf beetle is available for download at

A photo of saltcedar is available for download at


Read the full story at

Source: PRWeb
Copyright©2009 Vocus, Inc.
All rights reserved

Related biology technology :

1. Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Initiates Second Registrational Phase 3 Clinical Trial for EOquin(R) in Patients With Non-Invasive Bladder Cancer
2. Cheetah Medicals NICOM Non-Invasive Cardiac Output Monitor Featured in a Presentation at the Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) Annual Meeting
3. InSightec Resumes Clinical Trials for Non-Invasive Treatment of Brain Tumors
4. Masimo Launches Patient SafetyNet and Showcases the Rainbow SET Upgradable Noninvasive Monitoring Platform at 2007 ASA Annual Meeting
5. Microfabrica Introduces Set of Miniature Building Blocks for Minimally-Invasive Medical Devices
6. Masimo Announces Continuous Noninvasive Total Hemoglobin
7. Minimally Invasive Treatment Offers Hope for Liver Cancer Patients
8. Biocept Launches Noninvasive Prenatal Rh(D) Diagnostic at Annual ACOG Scientific Meeting
9. Simbionix Takes Non-Invasive GYN Surgical Training to the Next Level
10. Fungitell(R) CE Marked, Referenced in IDSA and NCCN Guidelines and Added to EORTC-MSG Revised Definitions of Invasive Fungal Disease
11. BugLab Launches Noninvasive Biomass Monitor for Continuous, On-Line Measurements
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/25/2015)... Orexigen® Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: OREX ) ... chat discussion at the Piper Jaffray 27th Annual Healthcare ... discussion is scheduled for Wednesday, December 2, at 8:00 ... replay will be available for 14 days after the ... NormartVP, Corporate Communications and Business Development , BrewLife(858) 875-8629 ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015 Cepheid (NASDAQ: CPHD ... at the following conference, and invited investors to participate ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. ...      Tuesday, December 1, 2015 at 11.00 a.m. ... New York, NY      Tuesday, December ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ: ... on behalf of the Toronto Stock Exchange, confirms that ... are no corporate developments that would cause the recent ... --> --> About Aeterna Zentaris Inc. ... --> Aeterna Zentaris is a specialty biopharmaceutical ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... -- SHPG ) announced today that Jeff Poulton ... th Annual Healthcare Conference in New York City ... EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). --> SHPG ) announced today ... the Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual Healthcare Conference in ... 2015, at 8:30 a.m. EST (1:30 p.m. GMT). --> ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:11/12/2015)...  Arxspan has entered into an agreement with ... use of its ArxLab cloud-based suite of biological ... will support the institute,s efforts to electronically manage ... internally and with external collaborators. The ArxLab suite ... Institute,s electronic laboratory notebook, compound and assay registration, ...
(Date:11/9/2015)... Nov. 09, 2015 ... of the "Global Law Enforcement Biometrics ... --> ) has announced ... Enforcement Biometrics Market 2015-2019" report to ... Markets ( ) has announced the ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015  The J. Craig Venter ... titled, "DNA Synthesis and Biosecurity: Lessons Learned and Options ... of Health and Human Services guidance for synthetic biology ... --> --> ... has the potential to pose unique biosecurity threats. It ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):