03 Mar 2011:
Control of Invasive Shrub with
Asian Beetles Yields Huge Water Savings
Researchers say an Asian beetle may help control the spread of tamarisk
, an invasive Eurasian shrub responsible for water loss across the southwestern United States. After allowing the tamarisk leaf beetle
Dan Bean, Colorado Dept. of Agriculture
The tamarisk leaf beetle
to devour leaves for one year in a 4,500-acre area dominated by the shrub in the Great Basin of Nevada, scientists from the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB) found that about 2,500 acre-feet of water that would have otherwise been consumed by the plant remained in the ground. “This is roughly the same amount of water that would be used to irrigate 1,000 agricultural acres in a year,” said Tom Dudley, a research biologist at UCSB. And at about $185 per acre-foot, this amount of water could provide annual water needs for 5,000 to 10,000 households, he said. Introduced into North America more than a century ago, tamarisk, also known as saltcedar, now occupies more than a million acres of riverside habitat
, displacing native trees, degrading habitat quality for wildlife and exacerbating erosion and sedimentation. The shrub is also flammable, which increases the risks of wildfire.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Accepting entries through June 15, 2015.
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s coral reefs, which are largely intact thanks to stifled coastal development in the communist nation. View the gallery.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.