(Tamarisk) is another example of an invasive species that was
naively introduced, and then has gone on to take over and crowd out
the native plants. This blight is expanding across the south west.
Salt cedar currently infests an estimated
1.5 million acres along waterways in the western United States. As a
wily competitor for resources, a single acre of the invasive plant can
suck up more than 2.8 million gallons of water in a single year,
according to researchers from the Texas Cooperative Extension.
Many programs are being being developed
to eradicate it such as cutting and spraying. Experiments have begun to counter
cedar with a biological control
using Chinese leaf beetle, Diorhabda elongata. Introducing new biologicals
into a non-native environment can lead to a cascading disruption of the
environment, and these tests are being carefully monitored
NWCI is conducting salt cedar
eradication trials with a combination of removal by shredder
(masticator), followed by springtime goat-grazing of young shoots. This purely "mechanical" approach is rapid and free from possible
adverse effects. The shredder-mower
(Bull Hog) can level acres per hour, an enormous improvement over
costly chainsaw crews. No herbicides are needed.
See pictures here.
Juniper-Pinon Pine Removal
|Nevada estimates that it
loses 50,000 acres per year of sage ecology/wildlife habitat to pinon
pine and juniper encroachment. Since European settlement the natural
controlling element of fire has been prevented in last 150 years.
Pinon pine/Juniper are a major fire hazard in many western states.
They also present suburban fire hazards. NWCI has found that the most
efficient method of clearance is with the new genre of tractor-mounted
forestry shredders, that do not require hand-feeding.
See pictures of what a
shredder can do in 25 seconds.
Plants can receive much of their water aerially through their
stomata, independently of water taken up through the roots. This can
provide an effective solution for uneven, arid, and hillside
Water is jetted through
custom venturi nozzles, creating a suspension that can drift
down the slopes without eroding them.
Nutrient solutions can be
added to the fog; in addition the stomata can be stimulated to
absorb more, increasing yields
reduction through low growth removal
NWCI was a presenter at the
in Ft. Collins, CO.
forest fires have led to the beginning of coordinated efforts with federal and state
agencies to develop cost-effective methods of removing low growth
brush and small trees which promote the spread of fires.
Current efforts visualize
removing the brush (perhaps to wood processing or ethanol plants),
but the cost of transportation to get it out of the remote and
inaccessible areas is prohibitive.
mulching the wood right on the spot, and leaving it there.
Conventional chippers are not up to the job. But the Bull Hog is.
NWCI is experimenting with gardens on barges (see
an example here); the plant roots take up water as needed; pests
such as deer or rabbits are thwarted.