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Concern about spread of non-native riparian trees in the western USA has led to Congressional proposals to accelerate control efforts. Debate over these proposals is frustrated by limited knowledge of non-native species distribution and abundance. We measured abundance of 44 riparian woody plants at 475 randomly selected stream gaging stations in 17 western states. Our sample indicates that Tamarix ramosissima and Elaeagnus angustifolia are already the third and fourth most frequently occurring woody riparian plants in the region. Although many species of Tamarix have been reported in the region, T. ramosissima (here including T. chinensis and hybrids) is by far the most abundant. The frequency of occurrence of...
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Populus fremontii (Fremont cottonwood) was once a dominant species in desert riparian forests but has been increasingly replaced by the exotic invasive Tamarix ramosissima (saltcedar). Interspecific competition, reduced flooding frequency, and increased salinity have been implicated in the widespread decline of P. fremontii. To elucidate some of the multiple and interacting mechanisms of this decline, we examined ecological processes in a control stand of P. fremontii along the Colorado River in Utah, USA, as well as a disturbed stand characterized by high groundwater salinity and invasion of T. ramosissima. Sap flux data showed that P. fremontii at the saline site experienced large reductions in afternoon canopy...
Significant ecological, hydrologic, and geomorphic changes have occurred during the 20th century along many large floodplain rivers in the American Southwest. Native Populus forests have declined, while the exotic Eurasian shrub, Tamarix, has proliferated and now dominates most floodplain ecosystems. Photographs from late 19th and early 20th centuries illustrate wide river channels with largely bare in-channel landforms and shrubby higher channel margin floodplains. However, by the mid-20th century, floodplains supporting dense Tamarix stands had expanded, and river channels had narrowed. Along the lower Green River in eastern Utah, the causal mechanism of channel and floodplain changes remains ambiguous due to...


map background search result map search result map Ecohydrology in a Colorado River riparian forest: implications for the decline of Populus fremontii Ecohydrology in a Colorado River riparian forest: implications for the decline of Populus fremontii