Geography ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 7-31-2021


Tamarix spp., also known as salt cedar or tamarisk, is a shrub that has garnered a notorious reputation in North America as an invasive plant, with widespread policy and research advocating for its eradication in the Southwest U.S. and Northern Mexico. This study examines both governmental conservation documents and news articles to investigate narrative trends on tamarisk in the Southwestern U.S. and Northern Mexico as a contiguous region (the Chihuahuan Desert), expanding on current research to include transborder effects on the perception and management of introduced species. This paper asks: In the last 25 years, how has the movement, management and biocontrol of tamarisk plants interacted with broader discourses of invasion in the Southwestern U.S. and Northern Mexico? The study finds that quotidian intimacy with and use of tamarisk defines Mexican news narratives. In U.S. publications, militaristic narratives pose human relationships to tamarisk as combative and hierarchical. The paper argues that the discursive division between the two countries has damaged relationships and economies in Northern Mexico and blinded perspectives in the U.S. to other ways of knowing and relating to tamarisk. This narrative intervention seeks to help to form new paths forward in thinking about introduced species.

Degree Name


Department Name


Level of Degree


First Committee Member (Chair)

Maria Lane

Second Committee Member

Melinda Morgan

Third Committee Member

Marygold Walsh-Dilley

Document Type





invasive species, discourse analysis, multispecies assemblages, Diorhabda spp.