Ahahui supports biocontrol of strawberry quava in Hawaii

April 21, 2009 at 9:26 pm 4 comments

April 20, 2009

To: County of Hawaii – State of Hawaii

FROM: Chuck K. Burrows, Ed.D., President of Ahahui Malama I ka Lokahi

RE: Resolution No. 80 09 – Requesting a ban on the release of biological control agents on the island of Hawaii

Aloha Council members, ‘Ahahui Mälama I Ka Lökahi, Hawaiians for the Conservation of Native Ecosystems, opposes Resolution No. 80 09 requesting a ban on the release of biocontrol agents on the island of Hawaii, including insects, fungi, bacteria, virus, or other pathogens, for any tree species related to the ‘Ohi’a (Metrosideros polymorpha), including all species of the family Myrtacaea, such as the strawberry guava(Spidum cattleianum).

These are our reasons:

1. The ban on biocontrol agents is too general in its scope and will be detrimental to the survival of all Hawaiian endemic plants such as ‘Ohia Lehua (Metrosiderous polymorpha) from the spreading alien invasive strawberry guava (Spidum cattleianum).

2. The resolution’s Whereas, these biological control agents “may adapt and evolve to begin attacking related species, including the ‘ohi’a lehua” is a false assumption not based on scientific research and data.

3. Infact, a valid statement can be made that if there is no biocontrol to slow the vigorous growth of the strawberry guava, the native endemic ‘Ohia Lehua and Koa forest ecosystem will be decimated in years to come.

4. Over 15 years of extensive and controlled scientific research in Hawaii and in Brazil have been carefully conducted to determine that the recommended biocontrol (Tetococcus ovatus) for strawberry guava CAN NOT SURVIVE and DOES NOT FEED ON ‘OHIA AT ALL!

5. Tetococcus oavatus which is a natural parasite that has evolved with strawberry guava in its native Brazil has not been found on other Brazilian myrtaceous plants to indicate a host shift from strawberry guava to another related host plant over its long evolutionary time scale.

6. The biocontrol T. ovatus has been tested in Hawaii on a broad range of related myrtaceous plants and other agricultural food crops, and all evidence has shown that this biocontrol insect is extremely host specific.

7. Ahahui Malama I ka Lokahi firmly believe that if our native endemic forests and wildlife would no longer exist due to the ravages of alien invasives such as strawberry guava, so would the identity of the Hawaiian indigenous people and its culture which evolved from the natural landscape.

We kanaka moali strongly urge you to vote NO on this resolution.

Mahalo for your deliberation and consideration, 

Charles K. Burrows, Ed.D. President

Ahahui Malama I ka Lokahi P.O. Box 751 Honolulu, Hawaii 96808


Entry filed under: announcement, biocontrol, conservation, environmental, Hawaii, Hawaiian, Hawaiian culture, insects, native birds, native ecosystems, plants, research.

Service Project at Na Pohaku o Hauwahine Sat. Apr. 18th Sign up for June 6th Native Plants tour around Kawainui Marsh

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