While media attention is focused on BP oil invading U.S. shorelines, another insidious form of inundation is taking place as the Chinese Tallowtree (Sapium sebiferum) expands its range along waterways and upland sites in Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Jim Miller, a Forest Service ecologist, describes the situation:
This [new research by Sonja Oswalt] is the first report to show how infestations are composed of thousands of small stems per acre that tightly grip lands in a near monoculture, excluding diversity with little potential for wood resource value. The crisis is worsened by the plant’s rapid occupation of the highly diverse wetland prairies and marshes in east Texas and Louisiana, which are special habitats for many rare plants and animals and often productive native grasslands.
Read more here.
James H. Miller, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org