Climate change could benefit some invasive plants

Last updated: 5 Mar, 2014

A recent paper published in New Phytologist suggests that global environmental changes might be beneficial for some invasive species. The researchers investigated the success of the invasive forb Linaria dalmatica in a semi-arid grassland when influenced by elevated CO2 and warming. To do this they designed a free-air CO2 enrichment and infrared warming experiment and found that over 4 years, elevated CO2 dramatically increased L. dalmatica success, with and without warming, leading to 13-fold higher above-ground biomass, 32-fold higher seed production, and seven-fold higher vegetative reproduction. The results suggest that L. dalmatica benefited from a combination of direct CO2 effects on photosynthesis and growth, and indirect CO2 effects which allowed it to take advantage of both carbon fertilization and water saved by native species.


Linaria dalmatica (Dalmation toadflax). Photo © Natrona County Weed & Pest

Linaria dalmatica (Dalmation toadflax). Photo © Natrona County Weed & Pest


This paper was covered by Luke Runyon in a story on the Harvest Public Media web site. Luke Runyon reports from Colorado for KUNC and Harvest Public Media, a public media reporting collaboration that focuses on agriculture and food production issues.

Listen to this story below or click here for the original version of this story which appeared on Harvest Public Media’s web site.




Article reference:

Blumenthal DM, Resco V, Morgan JA, Williams DG, LeCain DR, Hardy EM, Pendall E, Bladyka E. 2014. Invasive forb benefits from water savings by native plants and carbon fertilization under elevated CO2 and warming. New Phytologist 200: 1156–1165.