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Is tamarisk an invasive species in the American West?

Tamarisk is a familiar invasive species across the American West, occupying hundreds of thousands of acres of river floodplains since the 1960s. This shrub or small tree, which is also known as saltcedar, has successfully colonized a range of sites. It especially favors those sites that are inhospitable to dominant native streamside plants because of high salinity, low water availability, and altered streamflow regimes downstream of dams. Researchers debate the extent to which tamarisk invasion has had negative effects, but this invasive species can and does alter habitat quality for some wildlife, water use by floodplain vegetation, and the frequency and intensity of wildfires.


Tags: Wildlife, Ecosystems, Biodiversity, Streamflow, Rivers, Water, Wildfires