by David Corrigan
HONOLULU – A Senate Resolution that would urge the Invasive Species Council to “develop and implement a comprehensive interagency plan” to eradicate the fast growing and dangerous Albizia tree on Hawaii Island is moving through committee.
The resolution also asks the council to find a partner to help utilize Albizia that are removed, and to investigate possible biocontrol agents for the control of the tree.
“… Albizia’s rapid growth rate and soil-altering roots and foliage pose a threat to lowland native forests,” reads the legislation, which was introduced by Puna senator Russell Ruderman. “Falling Albizia trees and branches pose a safety hazard to homeowners and motorists, and Albizia trees have damaged overhead and underground utilities.”
“…Albizia has proliferated on the island of Hawaii to the point where it has become a significant problem,” SR 41 continues in the whereas section of the resolution, “… the Big Island Invasive Species Committee, a voluntary partnership of private citizens, community organizations, businesses, land owners, and government agencies, has attempted to control and eradicate Albizia but has experienced difficulty doing so because of the extent of Albizia’s proliferation on public and private lands and because the Big Island Invasive Species Committee is significantly underfunded at the policy level.”
The Puna community has been waiting for some time for concrete action on the invasive tree, which was introduced to Hawaii in 1917 by Joseph Rock as an ornamental and for reforestation, according to the Landscape Industry Council of Hawaii.
The resolution has gotten diverse support.
Curtis Beck, the Manager of the Energy Services Department at the Hawaii Electric Light Company, sent testimony:
The resolution drew support in testimony submitted earlier, as well.
Darryl Oliveira, the Acting Administrator for Hawaii County Civil Defense, supported the measure, saying:
Puna resident Steve Hirakami offered a solution in his testimony:
The original version of SR 41 was amended by the Committee on Energy and Environment, removing a paragraph “urging the Department of Agriculture to designate the Albizia as a noxious weed”. In testimony submitted on March 19, DLNR chair William Aila said:
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