Meetings outline strawberry guava danger


POSTED: Sunday, April 26, 2009

The U.S. Forest Service is holding a series of meetings starting tomorrow evening to explain the threat strawberry guava poses to native Hawaiian forests and a proposal to release a Brazilian insect to control it.

The meetings will also gather written comments for an environmental assessment on the proposed biological control of the South American tree introduced to Hawaii in 1825.

Hikers in Hawaii relish its tasty fruit, but the invasive species has degraded large swaths of native Hawaiian forest. The strawberry guava could take over 90 percent of remaining forest ecosystems, according to the Forest Service. Efforts to remove the trees and control them with herbicides have not worked.

The aphid-like insect being considered for release is a natural control agent for the strawberry guava in Brazil, slowing its growth while still allowing the tree to flower and fruit.

The meetings will run from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.:

» Tomorrow, Maui Arts and Cultural Center in Kahului

» Wednesday, Chiefess Kamakahelei School, Lihue

» Thursday, McCoy Pavilion, Ala Moana Park

» May 14, University of Hawaii-Hilo, Room UCB 127

» May 18, NELHA Gateway Center, Kailua-Kona