A look into the use of invasive Tamarix (saltcedar, tamarisk) as habitat for birds in the southwestern United States and its implications for Tamarix control. While Tamarix habitat supports fewer birds than native habitat, data from Arizona Breeding Bird Atlas and Birds of North America demonstrate that 49 bird species use Tamarix as breeding habitat. The use and quality of Tamarix as bird habitat varies depending on geographic location and species and few studies have quantified the effects of Tamarix habitat on bird survivorship and productivity. Some research suggests that southwestern willow flycatchers suffer no negative effects from breeding in Tamarix habitat. The ecological costs and benefits of Tamarix control are difficult to predict and high-quality native riparian vegetation may not be established after Tamarix control. Tamarix control projects may therefore reduce net habitat quality for bird populations. The potential negative effects of Tamarix control should be assessed before control is conducted. Developing measurable project objectives, context specific control and restoration techniques, and incorporating robust monitoring, are critical for restoration planning and execution.
Sogge, M.K., Sferra, S.J. and Paxton, E.H., 2008. Tamarix as habitat for birds: implications for riparian restoration in the southwestern United States. Restoration Ecology, 16(1), pp.146-154. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1526-100X.2008.00357.x
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