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Old 09-18-2009, 01:50 PM   #1
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Default Northwestern United States could face more tamarisk invasion by century's end

Northwestern United States could face more tamarisk invasion by century's end
Models show habitat of the aggressive invasive plant likely will expand as temperature warms
Public release date: 15-Sep-2009
Contact: Yasmeen Sands
ysands@fs.fed.us
360-753-7716
USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station

Northwestern United States could face more tamarisk invasion by century's end
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If the future warming trends that scientists have projected are realized, one of the country's most aggressive exotic plants will have the potential to invade more U.S. land area, according to a new study published in the current issue of the journal Invasive Plant Science and Management. The study found that tamarisk—prevalent today in some parts of the region, but generally limited to warm and dry environments—could expand its range into currently uninvaded areas.

"Results of our study suggest that a little over 20 percent of the Northwest east of the Cascade Mountains supports suitable tamarisk habitat, but less than one percent of these areas is currently occupied by the species," said Becky Kerns, a research ecologist with the Western Wildland Environmental Threat Assessment Center (WWETAC) who led the study. "That means the remainder is highly vulnerable to invasion right now with the situation potentially getting worse as favorable conditions for tamarisk may expand under climate change."

These findings translate into a two- to ten-fold increase in highly suitable tamarisk habitat in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho by the end of the century.
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