By Nina Wu
Quiz: Strawberry guava — invasive or non-invasive?
Though we see plenty of strawberry guava during our hikes on Oahu as well as in people's yards, strawberry guava, which was introduced to Hawaii from Brazil in 1825, is an invasive species that invades native forests. With no natural enemies or competitors in the isles, strawberry guava forms dense thickets replacing native Hawaiian plants and damages the watershed.
What are invasive species?
Invasive species are 1) Harmful to the environment, economy and/or human health and 2) Not native to the area in which it is presenting a problem.
The first Hawai‘i Invasive Species Awareness Week takes place from Monday (March 4) to March 10.
Gov. Neil Abercrombie kicks off the week with a proclamation at 10 a.m. Monday at the state Capitol, followed by an awards ceremony to honor individuals and groups that have made a difference in protecting Hawaii from invasive species.
See the full list of honorees at www.hisaw2013.blogspot.com.
During the week, join Hawaii Bioblitz's mission to find out what's living in your backyard. The public is invited to submit photos of plants and animals in Hawaii and to post them to the project website. More than 30 local experts are volunteering to help the public identify the plants and animals in their photos, and determine whether they are native, non-native or invasive species. Go to www.hisaw2013.blogspot.com for more information.
Want to do more to combat invasive species?
There are volunteer opportunities across the state, which include managing invasive plants on Mauna Kea (Saturday, March 2) or helping with the Manoa Cliff forest restoration (Sunday, March 3). You can also help remove invasive species at Lyon Arboretum or pull invasive algae from Oahu's fishponds on Saturday (March 9). You can also pull weeds in the Alakai bog on Kauai.
Click here for a list of invasive species awareness week events.