Magazine article American Forests

Tamarisk Eradication

Magazine article American Forests

Tamarisk Eradication

Article excerpt

Most tree lovers aren't inclined to wield a saw, much less seek the elimination of an entire species from an ecosystem. In the case of the Grand Canyon tamarisk hunters, however, this is protocol. Their target? Tamarisk ramosissima--the dreaded invader of Western riparian ecosystems.

Tamarisk trees were introduced to America from the Mediterranean in the mid-1800s. The species flourished in its new home, and now river corridors throughout the Southwestern U.S. are choked with the invasive trees. Tamarisk trees increase ground salinity, and inhibit the growth of native species. This in turn limits food sources, and thus displaces animal life. Worse yet, tamarisk groves siphon precious springs in an arid land.

Fortunately, in the side canyons of Grand Canyon, tamarisk is on its way out. Groups of park service volunteers have been backpacking and rafting to remote tamarisk thickets within the Canyon and cutting the invasive trees.

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Volunteering to be a tammy hunter can get you on a free backpacking or rafting trip in the world's greatest canyon, but these trips are no paid vacations. …

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