Wildfires due to invasive grass species

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Cheatgrass, an invasive grass species, has caused more bigger and frequent wildfires in the West, according to a study that appeared in the Global Change Biology Journal Thursday, the Los Angeles Times said.

The researchers compared wildlife data with satellite images from the Great Basin of the American west, the Los Angeles Times said.

The report said that almost 80% of the largest fires in the west over the last 10 years are due to this grass, the BBC News said.

"We were able to pick out this species from space because it dries out earlier than native species," lead author Dr. Jennifer Balch said. "[Cheatgrass] is fuelling those really big fires."

This change in the wildfire cycle that is fueled by the invasive Cheatgrass is destroying the native sagebrush ecosystem of the Great Basin, the Los Angeles Times said.

The invasive grass does not provide any nutrients or wildlife shelter and is decreasing biodiversity in the land, the Los Angeles Times said.

To combat this threat, scientists are looking at many solutions, one of which that uses a fungus to attack the grass seed, the BBC News said.

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This page contains a single entry by takik001 published on December 6, 2012 7:02 PM.

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