Altered stream-flow regimes and invasive plant species: The Tamarix case

Juliet Stromberg, Sharon J. Lite, Roy Marler, Charles Paradzick, Patrick B. Shafroth, Donna Shorrock, Jacqueline M. White, Margaret S. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

209 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aim: To test the hypothesis that anthropogenic alteration of stream-flow regimes is a key driver of compositional shifts from native to introduced riparian plant species. Location: The arid south-western United States; 24 river reaches in the Gila and Lower Colorado drainage basins of Arizona. Methods: We compared the abundance of three dominant woody riparian taxa (native Populus fremontii and Salix gooddingii, and introduced Tamarix) between river reaches that varied in stream-flow permanence (perennial vs. intermittent), presence or absence of an upstream flow-regulating dam, and presence or absence of municipal effluent as a stream water source. Results: Populus and Salix were the dominant pioneer trees along the reaches with perennial flow and a natural flood regime. In contrast, Tamarix had high abundance (patch area and basal area) along reaches with intermittent stream flows (caused by natural and cultural factors), as well as those with dam-regulated flows. Main conclusions: Stream-flow regimes are strong determinants of riparian vegetation structure, and hydrological alterations can drive dominance shifts to introduced species that have an adaptive suite of traits. Deep alluvial groundwater on intermittent rivers favours the deep-rooted, stress-adapted Tamarix over the shallower-rooted and more competitive Populus and Salix. On flow-regulated rivers, shifts in flood timing favour the reproductively opportunistic Tamarix over Populus and Salix, both of which have narrow germination windows. The prevailing hydrological conditions thus favour a new dominant pioneer species in the riparian corridors of the American Southwest. These results reaffirm the importance of reinstating stream-flow regimes (inclusive of groundwater flows) for re-establishing the native pioneer trees as the dominant forest type.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-393
Number of pages13
JournalGlobal Ecology and Biogeography
Volume16
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2007

Fingerprint

Tamarix
stream flow
streamflow
Salix
pioneer species
Populus
dams (hydrology)
rivers
Southwestern United States
dam
Populus fremontii
river
ephemeral streams
riparian vegetation
riparian areas
groundwater flow
vegetation structure
introduced species
forest types
river flow

Keywords

  • Aridity
  • Flood disturbance
  • Hydrology
  • Invasion
  • Novel ecosystems
  • Riparian
  • Stream-flow regime
  • Vegetation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Global and Planetary Change

Cite this

Stromberg, J., Lite, S. J., Marler, R., Paradzick, C., Shafroth, P. B., Shorrock, D., ... White, M. S. (2007). Altered stream-flow regimes and invasive plant species: The Tamarix case. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 16(3), 381-393. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1466-8238.2007.00297.x

Altered stream-flow regimes and invasive plant species : The Tamarix case. / Stromberg, Juliet; Lite, Sharon J.; Marler, Roy; Paradzick, Charles; Shafroth, Patrick B.; Shorrock, Donna; White, Jacqueline M.; White, Margaret S.

In: Global Ecology and Biogeography, Vol. 16, No. 3, 05.2007, p. 381-393.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Stromberg, J, Lite, SJ, Marler, R, Paradzick, C, Shafroth, PB, Shorrock, D, White, JM & White, MS 2007, 'Altered stream-flow regimes and invasive plant species: The Tamarix case', Global Ecology and Biogeography, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 381-393. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1466-8238.2007.00297.x
Stromberg J, Lite SJ, Marler R, Paradzick C, Shafroth PB, Shorrock D et al. Altered stream-flow regimes and invasive plant species: The Tamarix case. Global Ecology and Biogeography. 2007 May;16(3):381-393. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1466-8238.2007.00297.x
Stromberg, Juliet ; Lite, Sharon J. ; Marler, Roy ; Paradzick, Charles ; Shafroth, Patrick B. ; Shorrock, Donna ; White, Jacqueline M. ; White, Margaret S. / Altered stream-flow regimes and invasive plant species : The Tamarix case. In: Global Ecology and Biogeography. 2007 ; Vol. 16, No. 3. pp. 381-393.
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