Monday, October 08, 2007

Spoileds Of War

Interesting article over at HAARETZ.com about the invasion of the blue acacia (most likely the blue leaf wattle, Acacia saligna) in Israel. Seems that the tree, native to Australia, was once planted across the country to stabilize sand dunes and create forests across the landscape. Once established, it began to spread on its own, helped in part by the proliferation of fires caused by wartime activities. An effort is now underway to manage down populations of this species by injecting them with the herbicide glyphosate. A second research project is testing controlled burns as a way of destroying seed banks...I assume that would go hand in hand with restoration/native plantings to avoid repopulation from acacias adjacent to the burned areas. Blue leaf wattle was also once widely planted in South Africa, which also considers it an invasive species.

2 comments:

Monique Reed said...

According to the linked article on Acacia saligna, it's a fire-climax species and is only encouraged by the occasional fire. I wonder if a controlled burn would do any good at all, if fires stimulate germination. Perhaps if the area is burned, then all the little new seedlings are destroyed?

Monique Reed

monado said...

I'm curious - what does the blue wattle do? displace native species? I'd almost think that in a desert, any plants are better than no plants, especially if the goats can eat them and spare native oasis plants. Or am I just being short-sighted?

I saw a TV show once about an oasis in northern Africa that had been inhabited or visited for many thousands of years - but now with goat herders moving in, the trees and plants in the very limited and isolated ecology were being devastated. Sigh. I guess goats are an invasive species.