You are here: home   Issues   Toxic Past, Toxic Present   Reed between the lines
Topic: Flora & Fauna     Department: Letters

Reed between the lines

Document Actions

Regarding the commercialization of Arundo donax (giant reed) in Oregon: This is not an ideal approach to biomass production (HCN, 11/8/10). This huge invasive "grass" causes millions of dollars in damage to river systems here in California and elsewhere. Many conservationists and resource managers are extremely cautious about promoting the expansion of something that is a major fire risk and reduces riparian biodiversity. Furthermore, there is an unintended consequence of creating a commercial industry based on cultivation of a known noxious weed: It could make it impossible to seek cost-effective approaches to managing that weed elsewhere. We are investing in developing biological methods to control Arundo, and commercializing it would create a new interest group that would be a barrier to efforts to control its spread. Alternative biomass sources that are not known as noxious weeds would be far more desirable for biomass production, if it is indeed a good "green" solution to energy needs.

Tom Dudley
Marine Science Institute,         
University of California
Santa Barbara, California

Email Newsletter

The West in your Inbox

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter! Follow our RSS feeds!
  1. The death of backpacking? | Younger people don’t seem interested in this out...
  2. A graceful gazelle becomes a pest | Inrroducing an African gazelle called the oryx for...
  3. What's killing the Yukon's salmon? | An ecological mystery in Alaska has scientists and...
  4. Plains sense | Ten years after Frank and Deborah Popper first pro...
  5. North Dakota wrestles with radioactive oilfield waste | Regulators look at raising the limit for radiation...
HCN Classifieds
Subscriber Alert
 
© 2014 High Country News, all rights reserved. | privacy policy | terms of use | powered by Plone