Invasive Species in Hawaii

Dec 12, 2018

The coqui frog is one of Hawaii's most visible (and audible) invasive species, but hundreds more have gained a foothold in the islands.
Credit California DFW / Flickr

In December of 2018, officials from 22 states met in Hawaii for a meeting of the Western Governor’s Association. Hawaii Governor David Ige hosted the gathering in Kona which was focused on the impacts of invasive species. Invasions from ecologically alien plants and animals are contributing to environmental and economic degredation around the world. In many ways Hawaii is ground zero for the fight against invasive species. This series explores the problem and what can be done to limit the damage.

Little Fire Ants

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Hawaii is not unique in having a problem with invasive species, but the scope and scale of Hawaii's problem is exceptional. The effort to study and control  on of Hawaii's msot notable invasvie pests, the Little Fire Ant, was highlighted during one panel discussion at the WGA conference.


Economic Impacts of Invasive Species

The coffee berry borer beetle has had a major impact on Hawaii's coffee industry.
Credit Wikimedia

Hawaii is already spending tens of millions of dollars per year dealing with the effects of invasive species and without coordinated action that number will balloon in the coming decades. That was the message from a panel of Hawaii-based experts earlier this week. Their findings were clear: invasives are costing local businesses and governements millions. 


Biosecurity

Biofouling is the transport of organic matter on the hulls of ships. It's the primary source for invasive species coming in to Hawaii and is not well regulated.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

Most of the money spent invasvie species is used for containment and remediation after an alien species has already established itself. But the focus is now shifting to preventing invasives from getting a foothold in the first place.It's called biosecurity. Advocates believe it can save a lot of moeny in the long run.