Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Cross-agency alliance to tackle invasive buffelgrass

Buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare) is an invasive species found primarily in the southwest U. S., though it has been documented in several counties across the whole southeast.  The biggest concern with buffelgrass is that it can transform a shrub and scrub habitat into a grassland, crowding out all the native vegetation, and can rapidly deplete the soil of nutrients.  It is prized as a pasture grass in many areas due to the same reasons that make it a successful invasive; rapid establishment, high yield, high nutrient load, and adaptability to many weather conditions and environments.

Buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare) by Joseph M. DiTomaso, University of California - Davis,

The southwest has been trying to get their buffelgrass populations under control for many years and Saguaro National Park, the Coronado National Forest, and the Southern Arizona Buffelgrass Coordination Center were just awarded Resilient Landscape Program (RLP) funding from the Department of the Interior.  This funding will go towards buffelgrass control and habitat restoration in the Sonoran Desert region.  The major concern is that buffelgrass resprouts quickly from wildfire events, much more so than the native species.  By reducing the buffelgrass from the ecosystem, it will not only protect the natives, but also property and homes.

Source Article: Resilient Landscapes Program Funding to Help Combat Southern Arizona Buffelgrass Invasion
Buffelgrass Wiki: Pennisetum ciliare
Buffelgrass on EDDMapS: Pennisetum ciliare
Buffelgrass Images: Pennisetum ciliare