Saturday, May 04, 2002

Saguaro Under Siege

Populations of Saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) in Arizona are in decline, and according to this story from the Environment News Service, researchers suspect that invading populations of the African species Buffelgrass (Cenchrus ciliaris, Pennisetum ciliare) are at least partially to blame. Buffelgrass, introduced to America as a forage grass for grazing animals, increases the size and frequency of fires in the areas it invades, and Saguaro have been noted to disappear from burned regions of habitat. This spring, scientists from the USGS are beginning an investigation in Arizona to determine the best way to remove Buffelgrass and to gauge the recovery of native species.

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