Kudzu is sometimes called "the vine that ate the South." Anyone who's lived or visited the southeastern U.S. can certainly understand why. The fast-growing vine swarms over trees and buildings and other items. A few years ago, there was a lot of talk about finding a way to use the invasive plant as a biomass ingredient for cellulosic ethanol, with both the University of Toronto and the U.S. Department of Agriculture investigating the issue. We haven't heard much about that plan for a while now,
One of the numerous downsides of economic globalization over the past couple of decades has been the rise of invasive alien species. In nature, ecosystems eventually reach an equilibrium with predatory species evolving to take on native species, each keeping the other in check. Unfortunately, when you drop a species into an ecosystem where it has no natural predators, it tends to run wild. Such has been the case with plants like kudzu and insects like the emerald ash borer (which has devastated
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