Ivy: negative and positive aspects of a “pest” plant

In the previous article devoted to Ivy and its invasion, I anticipated that I would tell you about the positive and negative aspects of this expansion. So here is an analysis of these different aspects.

The negative aspect of ivy:

  • Trees are slowly dying because with ivy they are being smothered.
  • When trees are covered with ivy, the tree loses its beauty.
  • By destroying trees in the forest, we lose valuable wood to ivy, which means we will lack an important raw material in the future. The price of this valuable raw material will increase.
  • For people who still heat with wood, it will also become more expensive.
  • People who work with this important raw material, wood, will have less work.
  • The natural landscape is destroyed, which means that tourism will be in decline, which means a loss of income for all those people who earn from tourism.
  • The landscape becomes monotonous as the plant destroys the land.
  • When the tree dies, we lose vital oxygen. Because the oxygen content in the air is already low in areas where ivy is multiplying, people get sick and soon there will be more deaths due to the climate catastrophe that is imminent.
  • Oxygen levels are deteriorating more and more, but because Ivy also displaces vegetation, this means in the long run, people no longer have a chance to regenerate.
  • Soil flora where Ivy grows will also be suffocated, which means that biodiversity will disappear.
  • Important medicinal plants will also disappear as they are covered by the ivy plant in an ivy forest.
  • Because wildlife depends on the forest, there will be fewer and fewer of them because they cannot live on an ivy forest. There is a mass extinction of Fauna.
  • Insects will no longer find food when the forest is dead, which also means mass extinction.
  • Human property values will fall when areas become uninhabitable where ivy prevails. Moreover, who wants to see only ivy every day?
  • Ivy destroys the masonry of buildings if the construction is not prepared to resist it. Even historic buildings are destroyed by ivy.
  • When the forest dies we lack the important humus we need for agriculture.
  • Climate change will be further accelerated by the death of the forest due to this invasion.

The positive aspect of ivy (taken from some articles I found on the web, with my own commentary):

  • the mulch covering the trunks provides the trees with excellent “insulation” and protects them from cold temperatures;
    My comment: “Trees do not need protection from ivy as they have natural protection provided by the bark; ivy is also ugly to look at.”
  • Ivy performs the natural selection of the forest. We can call it the “wolf of the trees” because it uses its weight to help cut down less resistant or diseased specimens. This accelerates the process of forest maturation and renewal. Dead plants that fall to the ground become food for countless xylophagous insects and fungi, which feed on the decaying wood until the biological cycle is complete;
    My comment: “When there is an excess of dead wood, as happens when ivy continues to reproduce at the current rate, some species of wood-dwelling insects will over-reproduce, which upsets the natural balance of the forest. As far as I know, ivy does not only attack weak and diseased trees. Also, I don’t think anyone wants to see only mushrooms when they go for a walk in the forest.”
  • Its flowers are of enormous importance to bees, which visit regularly to collect large amounts of nectar and pollen. “According to the Italian Beekeepers Association, a planted ivy tree delivers 200 to 500 kilograms of honey each year ” (Source: Corriere della Sera, Fulco Pratesi);
    My comment, “If ivy is grown in a controlled way, it is definitely an interesting source of honey, but right now it is growing wild on trees. Well, I also want the other kinds of honey to eat “.
  • The plant provides shelter for many species of birds, which frequently nest there;
    My comment, “There are definitely other ways to provide birds with a safe haven.”
  • Its berries are used by numerous species of birds (thrushes, blackbirds, stripers, etc.), which feed almost exclusively on its fruits at certain times of the year. Due to the suppression of ivy, an indispensable food source for birds is lost and the forest fauna is drastically depleted;
    My comment, “If ivy continues to multiply and displace other plants and certain types of insects, as is the case right now, then these birds will soon have only an unbalanced diet. It would be like eating pork every day for people, I don’t know how long things will be okay.”
  • Evergreen leaves are appetizing for rare butterfly species (ivy moth, coelastrina argiolo) and for herbivorous animals such as deer, fallow deer, and roe deer, especially in the winter season when other food sources are scarce;
    My comment: “If all other plant species die out because of ivy because it is taking over, only the ivy moth and the argiole coelastrin will surely remain. It is the same with herbivorous animals as with birds that find only a one-sided diet.”
  • The leaves that fall to the ground decompose quickly, forming good quality humus.
    My comment, “In my opinion, the natural decay of dead plant species in the forest and animal droppings is still the best humus.”
  • Anti-pollution function : NASA, the U.S. Space Agency, has unveiled the properties of some plants with apparent “phytodepuration” properties. Among them is ivy, which seems to have shown remarkable capabilities: according to NASA, it absorbs 90% benzene and more than 10% trichloroethylene, so we can definitely call it an “anti-pollution plant.”
    My comment: “The problem is that when there is only Ivy as an oxygen donor, other environmental toxins can no longer be removed. The oxygen content composition is certainly not the same as before.”
  • Ivy is a plant used for herbal purposes. It contains saponins, tannins, resins and mineral salts, expectorant, emmenagogue and aureumatic . For cosmetic purposes, the infusion added to bath water has an astringent effect and assists anti-cellulite treatments; Used to rinse hair after shampooing, it makes it shiny and dark.
    My comment: “And if Ivy continues to develop in this way, where are the other herbs that we humans need as well?”

A common goal: the balance of nature

My goal is to find control over ivy and establish boundaries before it becomes an environmental catastrophe!

The whole problem with ivy needs to be analyzed, and I need help figuring out how to deal with it. That is why I am turning to you. Only if we can all work together can we get this problem with ivy under control. What is happening now is mismanagement of the problem.

There are 15 different types of ivy. Hedera Helix (from the family: Araliaceae) is the most widespread species throughout Italy and is the common ivy we see on our territory. In its native places it grows between 1000-3000 m above sea level. I have seen it up to about 1000 m above sea level in Villar, in the province of Cuneo. If it spreads more and more, not so much forest will remain intact on our territory. As it goes up more and more due to environmental pollution caused by smog around us and becomes more and more, we can also calculate how long we will have healthy forest areas in areas where ivy have ruled. The lifespan of an ivy plant is centuries, we are talking even 300 to 400 years, provided it still has trees to cling to. The height is more than 20 to about 30 meters.

Join INSO!

Join INSO today and build a better future with us.