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Why Are Vines Overtaking the American Tropics?
Science Daily ^ | 02-17-2011 | Staff

Posted on 02/18/2011 5:52:09 AM PST by Red Badger

Sleeping Beauty's kingdom was overgrown by vines when she fell into a deep sleep. Researchers at the Smithsonian in Panama and the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee received more than a million dollars from the U.S. National Science Foundation to discover why real vines are overtaking the American tropics. Data from eight sites show that vines are overgrowing trees in all cases.

"We are witnessing a fundamental structural change in the physical make-up of forests that will have a profound impact on the animals, human communities and businesses that depend on them for their livelihoods," said Stefan Schnitzer, research associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and associate professor at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.

Tropical forests hold more than half of Earth's terrestrial species and much of the planet's carbon. If vines take over tropical forests the rules used to model ecosystem services, such as regulation of the water cycle and carbon storage may no longer apply.

"In 2002, Oliver Phillips, a professor at the University of Leeds in the U.K., published a controversial study claiming that vines were becoming more common in the Amazon," said Schnitzer. "By pulling together data from eight different studies, we now have irrefutable evidence that vines are on the rise not only in the Amazon, but throughout the American tropics."

On Barro Colorado Island in Panama, the proportion of vines in tree crowns has more than doubled over the past 40 years. In French Guiana, liana vines increased 60 percent faster than trees from 1992 to 2002. Similar reports from Brazil, the Bolivian Amazon and subtropical forests in South Carolina in the United States confirm that vines are becoming more common and represent more of the total forest biomass.

(Excerpt) Read more at sciencedaily.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: forest; jungle; plants; weather

1 posted on 02/18/2011 5:52:18 AM PST by Red Badger
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To: Red Badger

First the scientific community sells us on the fact that evolution is an on going process, then they turn around and despise it when they see it happening before their very eyes...


2 posted on 02/18/2011 6:01:38 AM PST by Dixie Yooper (Ephesians 6:11)
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To: Dixie Yooper

They never got this excited over Kudzu.......................


3 posted on 02/18/2011 6:03:09 AM PST by Red Badger (Want to be surprised? Google your own name. Want to have fun? Google your friend's names.....)
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To: Red Badger
If not for these tropical vines, there would not have been any Tarzan movies. Nor the later George Of The Jungle.

.

*Watch out for that tree.

4 posted on 02/18/2011 6:07:04 AM PST by Deaf Smith
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To: Red Badger

Is it from LACK of human activity?

Or, perhaps, it is Bush’s fault!

(/sarc)


5 posted on 02/18/2011 6:07:08 AM PST by John Galt's cousin (Principled Conservatism NOW! * * * * * * * * * * Repeal the 17th Amendment!)
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To: Red Badger

Forget about that question, mine is “Why are American taxpayers on the hook for a million dollars to pay for studying vines in Panama?”


6 posted on 02/18/2011 6:07:48 AM PST by jtal
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To: Dixie Yooper

If a survivable niche exists, a more successful organism will evolve (or emerge) to dominate it.

THAT *IS* a maxim of evolution.

The question becomes, what altered the balance of the prior state? Why now do the vines increasingly dominate?

n.b. — climbing vines need a climbing substrate. Once the vines kill the trees, the next species will dominate the vines. And so on.


7 posted on 02/18/2011 6:08:13 AM PST by Blueflag (Res ipsa loquitur)
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To: Red Badger

I held my breath reading it...waiting for the inevitable sentence where they blame it all on global warming.


8 posted on 02/18/2011 6:09:48 AM PST by capt. norm (Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves for they shall never run out of material.)
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To: Red Badger

My thoughts exactly!

9 posted on 02/18/2011 6:10:30 AM PST by NCjim (Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.)
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To: Red Badger

People are going to read this, and believe it.


10 posted on 02/18/2011 6:11:28 AM PST by rockinqsranch (Dems, Libs, Socialists, call 'em what you will, they ALL have fairies livin' in their trees.)
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To: John Galt's cousin

1) Bush’s fault
2) global warming
3) Sarah Palin’s rhetoric
4) intolerant right-wing fundamentalist Christians
5) all of the above


11 posted on 02/18/2011 6:11:33 AM PST by Stosh
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To: Blueflag

L

12 posted on 02/18/2011 6:11:35 AM PST by Lurker (The avalanche has begun. The pebbles no longer have a vote.)
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To: Red Badger
They never got this excited over Kudzu.......................

From the article....

In North American forests, invasive vines such as kudzu, oriental bittersweet, English ivy and Japanese honeysuckle often reduce native tree regeneration and survival, although there is no obvious trend as there is in the American tropics. In contrast, two studies of forests in tropical Africa did not detect vine overgrowth.

Looks to me like this isn't a global climate issue, which is what the story wished to insinuate. Something else is afoot.....

13 posted on 02/18/2011 6:12:13 AM PST by The_Victor (If all I want is a warm feeling, I should just wet my pants.)
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To: Deaf Smith
If not for Vines.....

They'd be walking and building ladders....Slowing the pace of the movies :>)

14 posted on 02/18/2011 6:12:38 AM PST by libertarian27 (Ingsoc: Department of Life, Department of Liberty, Department of Happiness)
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To: Red Badger

Where are these “American tropics”?


15 posted on 02/18/2011 6:13:47 AM PST by meyer (We will not sit down and shut up.)
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To: Red Badger
They never got this excited over Kudzu.......................

or Starlings

16 posted on 02/18/2011 6:17:19 AM PST by Dixie Yooper (Ephesians 6:11)
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To: The_Victor

they should check out wisteria...........


17 posted on 02/18/2011 6:18:25 AM PST by Red Badger (Want to be surprised? Google your own name. Want to have fun? Google your friend's names.....)
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To: Red Badger
They never got this excited over Kudzu....................... I remember when kudzu was a "southern thing". I live in central Illinois and it creeps up the west side of my house.

Originally a Japanese problem. Wonder how it got here? Probably the same way as pythons in the Everglades.


18 posted on 02/18/2011 6:18:39 AM PST by Graybeard58 (Of course Obama loves his country. The thing is, Sarah loves mine.)
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To: meyer

Northern South America, Central America and Southern North America.............


19 posted on 02/18/2011 6:19:37 AM PST by Red Badger (Want to be surprised? Google your own name. Want to have fun? Google your friend's names.....)
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To: Red Badger
more than a million dollars from the U.S. National Science Foundation

more than a million dollars from the beleaguered taxpayers of the usa that would have otherwise been spent on things that the people who actually earned the money wanted. Fixed it.

20 posted on 02/18/2011 6:19:43 AM PST by from occupied ga (Your most dangerous enemy is your own government,)
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To: The_Victor

Well, we made it thru global cooling scare, the global warming craziness, the AGW climate change might be diminishing... so how many $trillions and inalienable rights will the attack of the vines cost us?


21 posted on 02/18/2011 6:20:01 AM PST by C210N (0bama, Making the US safe for Global Marxism)
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To: meyer
Where are these “American tropics”?

America is a very big place.

22 posted on 02/18/2011 6:21:18 AM PST by Graybeard58 (Of course Obama loves his country. The thing is, Sarah loves mine.)
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To: Red Badger

Yea, that Kudzu is taking over all the beautiful scenery in Tenn. It’s scarey.


23 posted on 02/18/2011 6:21:46 AM PST by Reagan69 (I went to a shooting-victims' memorial service and all I got was a lousy T-shirt !)
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To: Graybeard58

FDR .........

From Wiki:

Kudzu was introduced from Japan into the United States in 1876 at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, where it was promoted as a forage crop and an ornamental plant. From 1935 to the early 1950s, the Soil Conservation Service encouraged farmers in the southeastern United States to plant kudzu to reduce soil erosion. The Civilian Conservation Corps planted it widely for many years.

Another Democratic screw-up...........


24 posted on 02/18/2011 6:21:46 AM PST by Red Badger (Want to be surprised? Google your own name. Want to have fun? Google your friend's names.....)
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To: Reagan69

It has now spread to Canada...............


25 posted on 02/18/2011 6:23:16 AM PST by Red Badger (Want to be surprised? Google your own name. Want to have fun? Google your friend's names.....)
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To: Reagan69

Canada

Kudzu was discovered July 2009 in a small patch, 110 metres wide and 30 metres deep, on a south-facing slope on the shore of Lake Erie near Leamington, Ontario, about 50 kilometres southeast of Windsor.[24]

Ecologist Gerald Waldron made the Leamington find while walking along the beach. He spotted the kudzu instantly, having read about its destructive expansion in the southeastern United States.

Other countries

During World War II, kudzu was introduced to Vanuatu and Fiji by United States armed forces to serve as camouflage for equipment.[citation needed] It is now a major weed.

Kudzu is also becoming a problem in northeastern Australia, and has been seen in isolated spots in Northern Italy (Lago Maggiore).


26 posted on 02/18/2011 6:24:40 AM PST by Red Badger (Want to be surprised? Google your own name. Want to have fun? Google your friend's names.....)
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To: Red Badger
Maybe they can figure out how to make ethanol out of it.
27 posted on 02/18/2011 6:30:42 AM PST by layman (Card Carrying Infidel)
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To: layman

Biomass and ethanol both can be made from kudzu and other invasive species instead of corn..............


28 posted on 02/18/2011 6:35:54 AM PST by Red Badger (Want to be surprised? Google your own name. Want to have fun? Google your friend's names.....)
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To: Stosh

LOL


29 posted on 02/18/2011 6:46:17 AM PST by John Galt's cousin (Principled Conservatism NOW! * * * * * * * * * * Repeal the 17th Amendment!)
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To: Red Badger
Biomass and ethanol both can be made from kudzu and other invasive species instead of corn..............

Yeah but without the benefit of driving food prices up. When you use corn for fuel, all meats from corn eating animals such as hogs go up in price. Without using corn as fuel we wouldn't have those much higher prices on meats such as bacon.

30 posted on 02/18/2011 6:47:19 AM PST by PJ-Comix (The Coupon Whisperer)
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To: PJ-Comix

And all those “farmers” wouldn’t get their $ub$idie$............


31 posted on 02/18/2011 6:52:16 AM PST by Red Badger (Want to be surprised? Google your own name. Want to have fun? Google your friend's names.....)
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To: Red Badger; PJ-Comix
The horses in my area LOVE kudzu. Can't eat enough of it. Frequently, I'll see them hanging over their pasture fences, just to get at it.

No idea hw much nutritional value there is to it, though.

32 posted on 02/18/2011 6:54:10 AM PST by wbill
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To: wbill

http://geography.about.com/library/misc/uckudzu.htm


33 posted on 02/18/2011 7:03:29 AM PST by Red Badger (Want to be surprised? Google your own name. Want to have fun? Google your friend's names.....)
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To: wbill

http://www.grandpappy.info/rkudzu.htm


34 posted on 02/18/2011 7:05:27 AM PST by Red Badger (Want to be surprised? Google your own name. Want to have fun? Google your friend's names.....)
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To: wbill

Nutritional Information
Fresh Kudzu Leaves
8 Ounces (net weight)

Category Amount % RDV
Calories 258 12 %
Total Fat 0.1 g 0.2 %
Dietary Fiber 10.3 g 45.7 %
Protein 2.1 g 4.8 %
Calcium 34.3 mg 3.4 %
Phosphorous 41.1 mg 4.3 %
Iron 1.4 mg 7 %


35 posted on 02/18/2011 7:17:19 AM PST by Red Badger (Want to be surprised? Google your own name. Want to have fun? Google your friend's names.....)
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To: Red Badger

“We are witnessing a fundamental structural change in the physical make-up of forests that will have a profound impact on the animals, human communities and businesses that depend on them for their livelihoods,”

and there is absolutely NOTHING we mere mortals can do about it.


36 posted on 02/18/2011 7:31:36 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: Buckeye McFrog
But we were told change is good...............
37 posted on 02/18/2011 7:42:32 AM PST by Red Badger (Want to be surprised? Google your own name. Want to have fun? Google your friend's names.....)
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To: Red Badger

I sure hope they burned that patch out with flamethrowers. It’s the only way to get rid of kunzu. You have to stop it before it gets a toehold. Cutting it back just pisses it off.
Apparently, kudzu can be used successfully to make alcohol. Problem is, when you attempt to ‘harvest’ kudu, it releases chemicals that work as well as round-up on the plants below it. This is nasty stuff.


38 posted on 02/18/2011 7:46:53 AM PST by zeugma (Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam)
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To: zeugma

A well established kudzu root can be as big as a tree trunk and weigh as much as 200 pounds. But it is a starchy root and as such its interior is edible..........


39 posted on 02/18/2011 7:51:54 AM PST by Red Badger (Want to be surprised? Google your own name. Want to have fun? Google your friend's names.....)
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To: Red Badger
One of my son's friends did a 6 month research stretch at this Smithsonion project in Panama last year. Quite a learning experience. He didn't make any money at this and in fact had to pay about $5,000 for the privilege. A pretty amazing place for a student to go.

Just one of hundreds of photos

40 posted on 02/18/2011 8:10:45 AM PST by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: zeugma

“This is nasty stuff.”

I heard goats loved the stuff and will clean it up in short order.


41 posted on 02/18/2011 8:15:31 AM PST by antisocial (Texas SCV - Deo Vindice)
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To: Liberty Valance
Here's another ...


42 posted on 02/18/2011 8:36:28 AM PST by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: Red Badger
Red: Our problem (central Florida) is the air potato : (Dioscorea bulbifera)

What's its food value? Any recipes? ;-)

43 posted on 02/18/2011 9:12:59 AM PST by Tunehead54 (Nothing funny here ;-)
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To: Tunehead54

http://www.walterreeves.com/landscaping/air-potato/


44 posted on 02/18/2011 11:24:15 AM PST by Red Badger (Want to be surprised? Google your own name. Want to have fun? Google your friend's names.....)
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To: Tunehead54
DIOSCOREA BULBIFERA L. Air potato (E); Name (S). Cultivated in Panama, this is one of the easier species to recognize because of its aerial bulbs. These, and the underground tubers, are usually poisonous raw, but may be peeled, sun dried, and then cooked (!). Underground tubers are best dug when the plant is dying back for the dry season. Some species of Dioscorea have a juice that induces itching (!).
45 posted on 02/18/2011 11:31:22 AM PST by Red Badger (Want to be surprised? Google your own name. Want to have fun? Google your friend's names.....)
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