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Plot- and landscape-level changes in climate and vegetation following defoliation of exotic saltcedar (Tamarix sp.) from the biocontrol agent Diorhabda carinulata along a stream in the Mojave Desert (USA)

Journal of Arid Environments

By:
, , and
DOI: 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2012.09.011

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Abstract

The biocontrol agent, northern tamarisk beetle (Diorhabda carinulata), has been used to defoliate non-native saltcedar (Tamarix spp.) in USA western riparian systems since 2001. Biocontrol has the potential to impact biotic communities and climatic conditions in affected riparian areas. To determine the relationships between biocontrol establishment and effects on vegetation and climate at the plot and landscape scales, we measured temperature, relative humidity, foliage canopy, solar radiation, and used satellite imagery to assess saltcedar defoliation and evapotranspiration (ET) along the Virgin River in the Mojave Desert. Following defoliation solar radiation increased, daily humidity decreased, and maximum daily temperatures tended to increase. MODIS and Landsat satellite imagery showed defoliation was widespread, resulting in reductions in ET and vegetation indices. Because biocontrol beetles are spreading into new saltcedar habitats on arid western rivers, and the eventual equilibrium between beetles and saltcedar is unknown, it is necessary to monitor trends for ecosystem functions and higher trophic-level responses in habitats impacted by biocontrol.

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Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Plot- and landscape-level changes in climate and vegetation following defoliation of exotic saltcedar (Tamarix sp.) from the biocontrol agent Diorhabda carinulata along a stream in the Mojave Desert (USA)
Series title:
Journal of Arid Environments
DOI:
10.1016/j.jaridenv.2012.09.011
Volume
89
Year Published:
2013
Language:
English
Publisher:
Elsevier
Contributing office(s):
Southwest Biological Science Center
Description:
5 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Arid Environments
First page:
16
Last page:
20
Country:
United States
Other Geospatial:
Mojave Desert