Friday, October 14, 2005

Tamarisk Assessment

You probably missed it, but today marks the end of the 2005 Tamarisk Symposium. Among the highlights, according to this article from The Daily Sentinel, were claims by scientists that eradicating tamarisk (Tamarix spp.) will not be the cure-all for the water woes of the western U.S.

One of the main reasons tamarisk gets so much attention is the claim that the shrub's high water demand will hurt those who depend on the Colorado River as their water source. Preliminary results of a study to be released later this year indicate that replacing tamarisk with native trees led to no measurable water savings. However, areas with native grasses and shrubs did use 30-60% less water. As usual, the situation is much more complicated than can be explained by a single invasive species.

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