Sunday, November 20, 2011

How Arundo kills Sabino’s creekside habitat

Before (all photos from riparian area above the dam)



Photos and Text by Mark Hengesbaugh: 
It was a classic invasion. The Giant Reed (Arundo donax) infestation began with a root or cane sprouting in Sabino Creek at least 20 years ago. Nothing in this environment eats or parasitizes Arundo, so it loses no energy contributing to the ecosystem as it grows tall very quickly. As Arundo grows, it robs adjacent native trees and shrubs of water and nutrients. Soon the Arundo is tall enough to shade out all but the tallest native trees. Over time, Arundo grows so thickly and in such a dense mat of horizontal roots that no other plant species can possibly gain a foothold.  Tomorrow: Who came to Sabino’s rescue?

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