Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists study control of invasive tree in western US

03.03.2011
Simply by eating the leaves of an invasive tree that soaks up river water, an Asian beetle may help to slow down water loss in the Southwestern United States.

Two scientists from UC Santa Barbara, working with colleagues from the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, have published the first substantive data showing water savings that can result from using Asian beetles for the biological control of tamarisk, an invasive tree of western rivers. The study is now published online and in print in the journal Oecologia.

"Widespread growth of this tree is a critical issue in arid regions facing greater social water demands," said Carla D'Antonio, Schuyler Professor of Environmental Studies at UCSB. "It happens at a time when water supplies may be reduced as a consequence of climate change. Additionally, society is increasingly concerned about wildlife species that depend on these wetland ecosystems."

Tamarisk, also known as saltcedar, is an invasive tree or shrub from Eurasia that occupies over one million acres of riverside habitat in western North America. It displaces native riparian woodlands, reduces habitat quality for wildlife, exacerbates erosion and sedimentation problems, and is flammable, therefore a wildfire hazard. The tree was introduced into North America over 100 years ago, and has overtaken many Western river systems.

The study was conducted in the Great Basin of Nevada as part of a USDA Agricultural Research Service program to develop new methods for invasive plant management. During the first year of large-scale tamarisk defoliation by the tamarisk leaf beetle (Diorhabda carinulata), approximately 2,500 acre-feet of water remained in the ground rather than being lost to the atmosphere. This was in the Humboldt River Basin of northern Nevada in an area of approximately 4,500 acres where tamarisk vegetation dominates.

"This is roughly the same amount of water that would be used to irrigate 1,000 agricultural acres in a year," said Tom Dudley, associate research biologist at UCSB, who cited Pacific Institute figures. "At a value of $185 per acre-foot, or almost a half million dollars, this amount of water could provide for the annual water needs of 5,000 to 10,000 households. It suggests that the biocontrol of weedy tamarisk across the Western U.S. could play an important role in conserving limited water resources."

The researchers pointed out that in warmer desert regions of the U.S. southwest, where water demand by vegetation and by humans is higher, water savings via tamarisk control could be even more important. In some regions the plants that come back following tamarisk control, particularly wetland plants like cottonwoods and willows, also tend to use a large amount of water but they do not get as dense nor cover as much area of the river corridor as tamarisk. So water savings will still accrue, as will benefits to wildlife that depend on these native riparian plants for habitat.

First author Robert Pattison, now an analyst with the U.S. Forest Service PNW Research Station, worked from March through December for two years at field sites along the Humboldt and Walker rivers in western Nevada. Both sites have dense infestations of tamarisk and daily high temperatures of about 100 degrees in mid-summer.

Pattison gave a glimpse of the fieldwork involved in the project. "In addition to the heat and dust, we contended with occasional rattlesnakes. And there were cows and rabbits that developed a taste for the cables on our equipment," said Pattison. "Aside from these challenges, the work was very rewarding –– in part because of interactions with ranchers and other land owners who granted us access to their lands. And it was rewarding because of the dramatic effect the tamarisk leaf beetle had on tamarisk trees. Entire stands were defoliated within a few years of release."

Gail Gallessich | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucsb.edu

Further reports about: Agricultural Research Great Basin Nevada UCSB leaf beetle water savings

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Faba fix for corn's nitrogen need
11.04.2018 | American Society of Agronomy

nachricht Wheat research discovery yields genetic secrets that could shape future crops
09.04.2018 | John Innes Centre

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

Im Focus: Like a wedge in a hinge

Researchers lay groundwork to tailor drugs for new targets in cancer therapy

In the fight against cancer, scientists are developing new drugs to hit tumor cells at so far unused weak points. Such a “sore spot” is the protein complex...

Im Focus: The Future of Ultrafast Solid-State Physics

In an article that appears in the journal “Review of Modern Physics”, researchers at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP) assess the current state of the field of ultrafast physics and consider its implications for future technologies.

Physicists can now control light in both time and space with hitherto unimagined precision. This is particularly true for the ability to generate ultrashort...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Diamond-like carbon is formed differently to what was believed -- machine learning enables development of new model

19.04.2018 | Materials Sciences

Electromagnetic wizardry: Wireless power transfer enhanced by backward signal

19.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Ultrafast electron oscillation and dephasing monitored by attosecond light source

19.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>