Column: Invasive plants make a glamorous entry with consequences
By Else Demeulenaere
For the Pacific Daily News
During last week’s Invasive Species Awareness Week, we learned that 23% of our tronkon niyok, or coconut trees, are infested with rhino beetles, our fadang, or cycad,- populations are decimated by a scale insect pest, while our forests are further silenced by the presence of brown tree snakes.
Besides invasive insects, snakes and wild mammals, invasive plant species also pose a threat to our natural environment. Island ecosystems are more vulnerable to invasive species because island species often only exist in smaller numbers and need specific habitat requirements and species (inclusive of humans) interactions to survive.
Unbalancing this equilibrium can drive our native species to the brink of extinction alongside the connection people have with these species.
Else Demeulenaere is the associate director for UOG’s Center for Island Sustainability and a candidate for a doctorate in interdisciplinary studies from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the University of Guam. She writes a Saturday column in the Pacific Daily News appearing in the Lifestyle section. She may be reached at (671) 735-2918 or email@example.com.