Marianas Variety

Last updateSat, 21 Oct 2017 12am

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    Friday, October 20, 2017-2:27:39P.M.

     

     

     

     

     

Invasive plant species in the Pacific — and North America

THE ivy or scarlet gourd is an invasive plant species that is causing serious damage to the forests of Saipan.

Its smothering vine grows faster during the rainy season. A local resident said they struggle to get rid of the vines on their farm every week. The vines form such a dense cover that the forest underneath is completely shaded out and destroyed.

The ivy gourd is also common on Guam and what is purported to be a horticultural variety has been introduced into Pohnpei.

Another invasive plant species is Clidemia hirta or Koster’s curse which is present in Palau and American Samoa. It is also a problem species in Hawaii.

Pennisetum setaceum or fountain grass has been introduced on Guam and is a major problem in Hawaii.

These plant species are spreading to other islands and are threatening ecological habitats everywhere, including the U.S. and Canada.

In North America, according to a Dartmouth-led study published by American Indian Quarterly, the role of indigenous peoples as environmental stewards has often been overlooked.

Science Daily stated: “Past literature has often focused on the sociocultural impact of invasive species on indigenous peoples, rather than reflecting their knowledge, scientific research and initiatives underway to address invasive species and environmental change, more broadly. As part of their findings, the researchers also aim to help provide a counter-narrative to indigenous peoples being helpless victims of environmental change.”

Science Daily added, “To keep established invasive species at bay, indigenous nations are using public programs to educate community members and are using methods based on both Western science and Indigenous knowledge systems. These include removing invasive species by hand, and drawing on mechanical and chemical methods.”

Nicholas J. Reo, an assistant professor of environmental studies and Native American studies at Dartmouth, who served as the first author of the study, said: “Our study shows that indigenous nations in the U.S. and Canada are responding to invasive species in some of the same ways as non-indigenous governments, but that they also bring unique knowledge and approaches to bear on these challenging issues. Invasive species have no borders, making this a challenge that we, as a society must face together.”