The six-year study's results were published in today's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
CO2 and the Fate of Future Forests
The forest setting at Duke allowed scientists to examine the impact of increased CO2 in a real-world environment beyond the walls of the lab.
Mohan explained that her team is researching how rising carbon dioxide levels may alter forest ecosystems.
"Woody vines [including poison ivy] are probably going to take off with increased atmospheric levels of CO2," she said.
Recent studies in temperate and tropical forests already report increases in these plants. Some scientists speculate that these changes are due to rising carbon dioxide levels.
The increased growth of woody vines could dramatically alter future forestsfor instance, by choking new tree growth. Woody vines can grow over the tops of large trees "and certainly shade out juvenile trees," Mohan said. "Those [juveniles] are the trees you'd [normally] expect to be the forest of the future."
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