Lawmakers, state and federal agencies will hold a public informational meeting on the Big Island to discuss the measures proposed by the Plant Pest Control Branch of the Department of Agriculture to stop the spread of the strawberry guava, an invasive alien weed.
The meeting will be held on Thursday, June 5 from 6 - 8 p.m. at the UH-Hilo Campus, UCB 127.
The current plan is to introduce a scale insect from Brazil, a natural enemy of the strawberry guava, to the island that will make it easier for groups to remove the plants from the forest.
Those opposed to the plan argue that the strawberry guava plant is a source of free food for many residents and that a better way of controlling the spread of the plant without releasing a new insect into the forest and eliminating a food source should be considered. Some expressed skepticism of the claim that the insects will not attack other plants in the forest in a Hawaii Tribune-Herald news article.
State officials from the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Big Island Invasive Species Committee, and Big Island lawmakers will be present.
Representative Clift Tsuji (District 3 – S. Hilo, Panaewa, Puna, Keaau, Kurtistown) will be the moderator.
Photo (top): Locally known as waiwai, the strawberry guava fruit.
Photo (bottom): A thicket of strawberry guava near Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park.
Photos from http://www.botany.hawaii.edu/