Salt cedar (Tamarix ramosissima Ledeb.) is a small shrubby tree that is taking over wetland and riparian habitats in the western United States. Biocontrol experiments are underway based on the Chinese leaf-eating beetle, Diorhabda elongata deserticola, as a means for controlling salt cedar. Kite aerial photography and ground observations were conducted in 2003 to document the effects of beetle biocontrol on salt cedar at the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation study site near Pueblo, Colorado. High-resolution August images provided clear visual evidence of salt cedar defoliation by beetles, and the images were suitable for quantitative analysis. This approach could be employed successfully to monitor other types of biocontrol study sites.
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Vol. 108 • No. 1