Using invasive plants for biofuels: Potential for ecological problems?

From the Farm Press blog:

The best of intentions sometimes go astray. Take kudzu, for example — the vine that ate the South was brought here in the 1930s with the aim of curbing the soil erosion that was washing away much of the landscape. The USDA actually paid farmers to plant the stuff.

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Is Arundo the next answer to the fuel crisis or the next kudzu?

In the early 1900s, the U.S. Soil Erosion Service distributed 85 million seedlings of kudzu over 3 million acres of sloped embankments to prevent erosion. While the initial intention probably seemed like a good idea, other issues took precedence over maintaining the weed, which quickly took over everything in its path. According to a recent article in Raleigh’s major newspaper, officials wanting to increase the production of biofuels in the South are planning to start mass plantings of another aggressive and invasive weed: Arundo.

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