Chinese Tallow Trees Continue East Texas Takeover
The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department says the invasive Chinese Tallow tree is getting more and more of a grip in East Texas.
The tree, which can hinder plant diversity, has seen its numbers grow 174 percent in a 15-year period ending in 2007, TPWD says.
They cite a report from the federal Forest Service which shows even greater growth of the tree in Louisiana and Mississippi.
The trees can chenge the chemical make-up of the local soil. "Additionally," TPWD says, "litter from the plant may alter habitat in invaded wetland areas, which could affect some frog and other amphibian species."
"This 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 very little potential for wood resource value," said Jim Miller, a Forest Service ecologist. "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."
East Texas is already used to dealing with invasive aquatic plants like the Giant Salvinia; guess you can add trees to the problem.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.