Skip to comments.Why Are Vines Overtaking the American Tropics?
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 ...
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...
They never got this excited over Kudzu.......................
*Watch out for that tree.
Is it from LACK of human activity?
Or, perhaps, it is Bush’s fault!
Forget about that question, mine is “Why are American taxpayers on the hook for a million dollars to pay for studying vines in Panama?”
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.
I held my breath reading it...waiting for the inevitable sentence where they blame it all on global warming.
My thoughts exactly!
People are going to read this, and believe it.
1) Bush’s fault
2) global warming
3) Sarah Palin’s rhetoric
4) intolerant right-wing fundamentalist Christians
5) all of the above
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.....
They'd be walking and building ladders....Slowing the pace of the movies :>)
Where are these “American tropics”?
they should check out wisteria...........
Originally a Japanese problem. Wonder how it got here? Probably the same way as pythons in the Everglades.
Northern South America, Central America and Southern North America.............
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.
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?
America is a very big place.
Yea, that Kudzu is taking over all the beautiful scenery in Tenn. It’s scarey.
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...........
It has now spread to 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.
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.
During World War II, kudzu was introduced to Vanuatu and Fiji by United States armed forces to serve as camouflage for equipment. 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).
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.
And all those “farmers” wouldn’t get their $ub$idie$............
No idea hw much nutritional value there is to it, though.
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 %
“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.
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.
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..........
Just one of hundreds of photos
“This is nasty stuff.”
I heard goats loved the stuff and will clean it up in short order.
What's its food value? Any recipes? ;-)
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