Transpiration, Growth And Survival Of Native Riparian And Introduced Saltcedar Trees In Mixed Stands On The San Pedro River, U.S.A.
AuthorMcGuire, Roberta Delehanty
San Pedro River
Soil, Water & Environmental Science
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractWestern riparian zones have undergone significant landscape changes over the past several decades, with introduced saltcedar (Tamarix spp.) as a crucial component of this transformation. Saltcedar, now a dominating presence along many western rivers, due to its high tolerance to drought, salinity and stress, is considered to be a high-water-use plant that can desiccate disturbed river systems. Where native and saltcedar plant communities occur together, it is important to understand water use patterns and the physiological responses of each species to environmental stress factors, as a way to project an eventual course of succession processes and management options at a given site. Stress and disturbance in the form of reduced stream flows and land use changes may influence these interactions. Understanding the conditions that allow for saltcedar dominance is critical in determining riparian water budgets, and developing effective management strategies. Sap flux sensors were used to measure the physiological response of co-occurring communities of saltcedar and native trees to these environmental stress factors during the pre-monsoon period in early summer, a time of maximum stress for riparian vegetation. The results suggest that native trees are still competitive with salt cedar so that a mixed plant community is likely to continue on the San Pedro River on the condition that current groundwater levels and river flows are maintained. If base flows and depth to groundwater continue to decline, this competitive balance between saltcedar and native trees likely could change.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Soil, Water and Environmental Science