PUNA, Hawaii – The State’s Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, and the County of Hawaii’s Department of Public Works teamed up February 26 through 28 to remove invasive albizia trees along Upper Puna Road.
The above photo is a “before” picture provided by the Big Island Invasive Species Committee (BIISC), who helped put together the Albizia Demonstration Project in Keau’ohana State Forest Reserve and Black Sands Subdivision.
Now that the large trees have been removed, BIISC will follow-up by applying herbicide to stumps and nonhazardous trees using methods developed with the University of Hawaii extension program and the US Forest Service.
“This project demonstrates how all stakeholders, government, private sector, and residents, can work together to manage the albizia problem in more cost effective ways,” said BIISC Manager Springer Kaye in a media release.
According to Ecologist Flint Hughes, with the U.S. Forest Service, ”Albizia, or Falcataria moluccana, is a statewide ecological and public safety problem. Albizia’s rapid and pervasive growth destroys native forests by shading out native plants and improving conditions other invasive flora, such as strawberry guava. On top of that, the tree’s brittle branches and shallow roots easily break in wind or rain, then fall on homes, roads, and power lines.”
The 500-acre Albizia Demonstration Project area in Puna includes trees overhanging homes and roads, as well as in native lowland forest. Kaye explains “Stakeholders identified this area of Puna as a case study to showcase the wide range of issues in albizia control, develop best management practices, and empower communities to limit the spread of these menacing trees in their own neighborhoods.”
Since December, BIISC has held three Community Training Workshops, where the public learned how to safely and effectively use herbicide to kill albizia trees not threatening infrastructure. The next Community Training Workshops will be held during the Hawai’i Invasive Species Awareness Week, from 9:00am-2:00pm, at various locations in East Hawai’i. BIISC media release