Invasive vine smothers Big Island's koa forest.
Invasive algae infests O'ahu's Maunalua Bay
Few problems are more costly or far-reaching in their consequences to Hawai‘i than the influx of harmful alien pests. Today, invasive species are altering the islands’ native forests, smothering its coral reefs and threatening hundreds of native plants and animals with extinction.
Scientists warn that without significant improvements in the state’s prevention systems, it is only a matter of time before snakes and other damaging pests become established in the islands — putting Hawaii’s environment, economy and quality of life at risk.
The silent invasion of Hawai‘i by insects, disease organisms, snakes, weeds and other foreign pests poses a serious threat to Hawaii’s economy and natural environment and to the health and lifestyle of its people.
Prior to human arrival, a new species successfully colonized Hawai‘i about once every 15,000 to 30,000 years. Today, with the easy movement of goods and people around the world, a new pest species arrives in the islands about once every 18 days.
While some species are benign in their impact, others become destructive in their new host environment. Free of the competitors and predators that kept them in check in their native environments, these foreign pests sometimes explode in Hawai‘i, damaging the economy and our delicate island ecology.
Invasive species are devastating not just to the environment but to agriculture, tourism and public health. Alien pests cost the state half a billion dollars annually in crop losses and property damage alone. Irreversible damage to our forested watersheds and coral reefs is less readily quantifiable in dollars but even more devastating.
Find out how the Conservancy is working proactively in collaboration with others to stop the silent invasion of alien pests into Hawai'i.March 10, 2011