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Title: Overview of saltcedar biological control

Author: DeLoach, C. Jack; Milbrath, Lindsey R.; Carruthers, Ray; Knutson, Allen E.; Nibling, Fred; Eberts, Debra; Thompson, David C.; Kazmer, David J.; Dudley, Tom L.; Bean, Dan W.; Knight, Jeff B.;

Date: 2006

Source: In: Aguirre-Bravo, C.; Pellicane, Patrick J.; Burns, Denver P.; and Draggan, Sidney, Eds. 2006. Monitoring Science and Technology Symposium: Unifying Knowledge for Sustainability in the Western Hemisphere Proceedings RMRS-P-42CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 92-99

Publication Series: Proceedings (P)

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: Biological control has successfully controlled 10 exotic, invasive weeds of rangelands and natural ecosystems in the United States since 1945, and control of others is in progress. We initiated biological control of saltcedar (Tamarix spp.) in 1987, using host-specific insect herbivores that regulate saltcedar populations in the Old World. We did a risk analysis, including the possible effects of biological control on the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher, (Empidonax trailii extimus) which had begun nesting extensively in saltcedar in Arizona. Our cooperators in France, Israel, Kazakhstan, China, and Turkmenistan tested 20 candidate control insects. Then, after quarantine testing, we released the first of these, the leaf beetle Diorhabda elongata Brullé from China and Kazakhstan, into field cages at 10 approved sites in 6 states in 1999 and into the open environment in May 2001. These beetles established at five sites in Nevada, Utah, Colorado and Wyoming and defoliated from 40 to 600 ha at each site by late June 2004. However, these beetles failed to establish in Texas and southern California because short summer daylengths stimulated premature diapause and failure to overwinter. In 2002, our overseas cooperators sent Diorhabda biotypes from four southern latitudes. After quarantine testing, we released some of these biotypes into field cages and then into the open environment at 5 sites in Texas, 2 in New Mexico, and 2 in California during late 2003 and 2004. They overwintered well, are increasing in population, and have begun defoliating saltcedar at 2 sites but have encountered heavy predation in some areas; intensive monitoring is underway. Biological control can provide self-sustaining, permanent, safe, and low cost control of saltcedars. This will allow recovery of native riparian plant communities, improved wildlife and fish habitat, reduced wildfires, increased availability of water, and increased recreational usage of parks and natural areas.

Keywords: monitoring, assessment, sustainability, Western Hemisphere, sustainable management, ecosystem resources, saltcedar, Tamarix spp., biological control

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DeLoach, C. Jack; Milbrath, Lindsey R.; Carruthers, Ray; Knutson, Allen E.; Nibling, Fred; Eberts, Debra; Thompson, David C.; Kazmer, David J.; Dudley, Tom L.; Bean, Dan W.; Knight, Jeff B. 2006. Overview of saltcedar biological control. In: Aguirre-Bravo, C.; Pellicane, Patrick J.; Burns, Denver P.; and Draggan, Sidney, Eds. 2006. Monitoring Science and Technology Symposium: Unifying Knowledge for Sustainability in the Western Hemisphere Proceedings RMRS-P-42CD. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. p. 92-99

 


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