Non-Native (arrived with the help of humans) Invasive plants have a variety of impacts to Hawaii’s natural ecosystem
- Strongest contributor to physical displacement of other native plant species by methods of
- Depriving other plants of valuable nutrients, particularly nitrogen
- Forming monotypic stands (single-species) replacing a diverse eco-system and shading out young new growth
- Change fire characteristics with the introduction of fire adapted grasses
- Not synchronized to Hawaii’s climate as to the release and storage of water
- Shown to have a direct beneficial relationship to alien plants and alien animals
Hawaii’s Native Plants have adapted over thousands of years to live harmoniously in this unique special place!
Here are some examples of Non-Native Invasive plants:
Miconia is a fast-growing weedy tree from South America that is now invading Hawaiʻi. It has large, dark green leaves with purple undersides. It looks like a bush when young, but can grow up to 50 feet tall. A single Miconia plant produces millions of tiny seeds that spread quickly and have a long germination rate. It has already destroyed 70% of the forest growth in Tahiti.
This rapidly growing tree forms monotypic (single-species) stands replacing diverse native ecosystems. It creates shade so deep that few native seedlings can survive. Spread mostly by feral pigs and introduced birds which eat it’s fruit it is unlikely native plant communities will return to areas dominated by this tree. Compared to a diverse native forest, strawberry guava invaded forests send one third less water to our aquifers directly reducing our freshwater supply. The fruits harbor fruit flies which are major pest to our Hawaiian agricuture.
Read this article by the Conservation Council for Hawaiʻi about Strawberry Guava>>>Leveling the Playing Field in Hawaiʻi’s Native Forests
Planted as an ornamental in people’s yards this plants can be detrimental to our watersheds. A large scale effort is being done to remove from area in East Maui.