Native vs. Invasive Plants in a CO2-Enrched World
Lei, Y.B., Feng, Y.L., Zheng, Y.L., Wang, R.F., Gong, H.D. and Zhang, Y.P. 2011. Innate and evolutionarily increased advantages of invasive Eupatorium adenophorum over native E. japonicum under ambient and doubled atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Biological Invasions 13: 2703-2714.
In a study designed to do just that, Lei et al. grew well-watered individual seedlings of invasive Eupatorium adenophorum, its native conspecific, and a native congener (E. japonicum) in 5-liter pots filled with 4 kg of homogenized forest topsoil placed within closed-top chambers out-of-doors in southwest China at the Ailaoshan Station for Subtropical Forest Ecosystem Studies (24°32'N, 101°01'E) for a period of three months under ambient and double-ambient atmospheric CO2 concentrations, while measuring various plant properties and physiological processes both during and at the end of the experiment.
With respect to their findings, the six scientists report that "CO2 enrichment increased relative growth rate by 8, 14, and 11% in invasive E. adenophorum, its native conspecific, and native E. japonicum, respectively; and they state that "the interactions between plant material and CO2 treatment were not significant for relative growth rate and biomass," while additionally indicating that "all studied materials responded similarly to CO2 enrichment."
So what doe these findings imply? Simply stated, in the words of Lei et al., "the results suggest that CO2 enrichment might not aggravate E. adenophorum invasion in the future."