WPTRC conducts invasive species workshop for Palau

WPTRC conducts invasive species workshop for Palau

WPTRC conducts invasive species workshop for Palau

Participants of the Forest Health Workshop hosted by the UOG forest health team on Nov. 2-3, 2022, at the Palau Bureau of Fisheries.
UOG entomologist Ross Miller holds tekken netting, a trapping method for coconut rhinoceros beetles that has been effective in Guam

Fieldwork at the Forest Health Workshop
Workshop participants practice catching insects during the fieldwork portion of the workshop.

Natural resource agents in Palau received precautionary training last month regarding invasive species from a team of forest health professionals from Guam. The University of Guam Western Pacific Tropical Research Center conducted the workshop on Nov. 2-3 at the Palau Bureau of Fisheries in Koror.

With the realization that the invasive species plaguing Guam forests may soon also pose a threat to neighboring islands, UOG established a forest health initiative through a grant from the U.S. Forest Service. The team focuses on building a network among foresters in the Western Pacific to share information — in particular, on the early detection of invasive species.

The forest health team consists of Ross Miller, professor of entomology at UOG; Robert Bevacqua, horticulturist; Jonae Sayama and Ajalyn Omelau, graduate research associates; and Michael Jordan, cooperative forester with the U.S. Forest Service. Christopher Rosario, an entomologist with the Guam Department of Agriculture’s Biosecurity Division, joined the team for the Palau workshop.

The presenters provided an introduction to entomology and biosecurity and provided knowledge on invasive species management specific to the little fire ant, the coconut rhinoceros beetle, and honeybee diseases. Participants also got hands-on experience in the field, learning various methods for collecting insects, how to prepare coconut rhinoceros beetle traps, and how to perform a honeybee hive check.

The workshop in Palau is part of a series of workshops on forest health topics in Micronesia. The first one took place in June 2022 in Guam, and the forest health team will continue to hold others in the coming years.