Future Ivy Outbreak
From 1998 to 2004, scientists Lewis Ziska and Jackie Mohan experimented in a wild forest by emitting carbon dioxide onto plant life, matching the degree of expected CO2 levels in the year 2050.
While trees gained a relatively normal 20% increase in growth, they found poison ivy growing 150% more than other plant life.
Mohan states that because they are only vines with no trunks, the ivy "can devote [their resources]... to growing more green leaves, which increase photosynthesis some more. And it becomes a cycle."
The scientists plan on continuing their studies by comparing the differences between poision ivy in rural and urban areas. They hypothesize that the increased levels of CO2 from cars and industial pollution might help create "bigger, tougher" poison ivy in cities as compared to a more docile country variety.
Image: "Poison ivy" by quinn anya on Flickr courtesy of Creative Commons Licensing.