If the future warming trends that scientists have projected are realized, one of the country's most aggressive exotic plants will have the potential to invade more U.S. land area, according to a new study published in the current issue of the journal Invasive Plant Science and Management. The study found that tamarisk—prevalent today in some parts of the region, but generally limited to warm and dry environments—could expand its range into currently uninvaded areas.
"Results of our study suggest that a little over 20 percent of the Northwest east of the Cascade Mountains supports suitable tamarisk habitat, but less than one percent of these areas is currently occupied by the species," said Becky Kerns, a research ecologist with the Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center (WWETAC) who led the study. "That means the remainder is highly vulnerable to invasion right now with the situation potentially getting worse as favorable conditions for tamarisk may expand under climate change."
These findings translate into a two- to ten-fold increase in highly suitable tamarisk habitat in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho by the end of the century.
Tamarisk, also known as "saltcedar," is a deciduous shrub or small tree that grows quickly, reproduces profusely, and tolerates drought and salty conditions, making it capable of easily displacing native species. It also sheds flammable leaves that serve as potential fuel, significantly increasing an area's wildfire risk. The plant was intentionally introduced to the West in the 1800s as an ornamental, windbreak, shade, and erosion control species and today can be found growing prolifically in the Northwest in the central Snake River Plain, Columbia Plateau, and Northern Basin and Range.
"Tamarisk is not a newcomer to the Northwest," Kerns said. "But most people are surprised that it is found here and that it forms extensive stands along certain portions of our arid waterways."
In the study, Kerns and her Forest Service and Oregon State University colleagues compiled distribution data for all species of tamarisk in the region and used the information to develop habitat suitability maps, which helped to identify those areas most susceptible to invasion. They then projected differences in habitat resulting from a changing climate to determine how the plant's habitat and distribution may change in the future.
Their projections indicated that, although most of the region maps as low habitat suitability for tamarisk, suitable and unoccupied habitat prone to invasion exists. Large, relatively uninvaded areas—including the Columbia, Okanagon, Yakima, upper John Day, Deschutes, lower Salmon, upper Owyhee, and lower Snake Rivers and their tributaries—appear to be especially vulnerable to infestation from adjacent populations.
"It's important to acknowledge that considerable uncertainty exists surrounding future climate change," Kerns said. "But our results provide a useful starting point for discussing the emerging threat of this highly invasive species in relation to climate change."To read a summary of the study online, visit http://wssa.allenpress.com/perlserv/?request=get-abstract&doi
The WWETAC is part of the PNW Research Station, which is headquartered in Portland, Oregon. The station has 11 laboratories and centers located in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington and about 425 employees.
Yasmeen Sands | EurekAlert!
Study relating to materials testing Detecting damages in non-magnetic steel through magnetism
23.07.2018 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.
The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...
New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference
Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...
Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...
Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....
17.08.2018 | Event News
08.08.2018 | Event News
27.07.2018 | Event News
21.08.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
21.08.2018 | Life Sciences
21.08.2018 | Medical Engineering