Riverine ecosystems are known to provide important habitat for avian communities, but information on responses of birds to differing levels of Tamarix is not known. Past research on birds along the Colorado River has shown that avian abundance in general is greater in native than in non-native habitat.
In this article, Van Riper at al. address habitat restoration in the lower Colorado River by comparing abundance and diversity of avian communities at a matrix of different amounts of native and non-native habitats at National Wildlife Refuges in Arizona. They suggest that to positively benefit avian abundance and diversity, one cost-effective way to rehabilitate larger monoculture Tamarix stands would be to add relatively low levels of native vegetation (∼20–40%) within homogenous Tamarix habitat. In addition, this could be much more cost effective and feasible than attempting to replace all Tamarix with native vegetation.
Van Riper III, C., Paxton, K.L., O’Brien, C., Shafroth, P.B. and McGrath, L.J., 2008. Rethinking avian response to Tamarix on the lower Colorado River: a threshold hypothesis. Restoration Ecology, 16(1), pp.155-167.