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A Review of Invasive Plant Management in Special Ecological Areas, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, 1984-2007

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Title: A Review of Invasive Plant Management in Special Ecological Areas, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, 1984-2007
Authors: Loh, Rhonda K.
Tunison, Timothy
Zimmer, Chris
Mattos, Robert
Benitez, David
LC Subject Headings: Invasive plants -- Control -- Hawaii -- Hawaii Island.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Hawaii)
Issue Date: Mar 2014
Publisher: Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Citation: Loh RK, Tunison T, Zimmer C, Mattos R, Benitez D. 2014. A review of invasive plant management in special ecological areas, Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, 1984-2007. Honolulu (HI): Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit, University of Hawaii at Manoa. Technical Report, 187. 35 pages.
Series/Report no.: Technical Report
Abstract: In Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (134,852 ha), management units called Special Ecological Areas (SEAs) were established to control 20+ highly disruptive invasive plant species perceived to be too widespread for parkwide eradication to be feasible. Instead control efforts were focused on excluding target weeds from high value areas. Between 1984 and 1986 the first six SEAs and a buffer unit (total area >5,000 ha) were established in wet ‘ōhi‘a/hapu‘u (Metrosideros polymorpha/Cibotium glaucum) forest, mesic koa (Acacia koa) forest, and seasonally dry ‘ōhi‘a communities (Tunison and Stone 1992). After initial treatment of weeds, crews revisited sites at one to five year return intervals to remove any new weeds that reestablished. Over the next two decades, additional funding was made available to increase the number and size of SEAs. By 2007, 27 SEAs and buffer units covering over 26,720 ha were managed to exclude target weeds. Control data of 10 SEAs for which we had the longest data sets were evaluated. From 1985 to 2007, control efforts in SEAs expanded from 5,045 ha to 26,687 ha, a 500% increase in area. In contrast, annual labor cost spent in the field increased only about 50% (adjusted to 2007 dollars). This translated to a three-fold decrease in labor costs per hectare ($28.96/ ha in 1985 to $8.61/ha in 2007) across all units. Additional cost savings were made by improving the efficiency in search and treatment methods (e.g. aerial spray rig, chemical treatment of kāhili ginger). In summary, long-term maintenance of SEAs was possible when initial weed infestations could be reduced to low levels; subsequent recruitment of new alien weeds was low; and work loads dropped significantly after initial control efforts. Weaknesses of the SEA approach were that follow-up treatment was required indefinitely, weed infestations could increase in surrounding unmanaged areas and reinvasion into units could become unmanageable especially for small SEAs. In the future, managers will be challenged to secure funding to address ongoing weed maintenance; and maximize program effectiveness (e.g. optimizing intervals between follow-up treatments, applying new search and control technology). Developing effective partnerships with the community and adjacent landowners to expand management areas, creating buffer zones that will reduce seed dispersal into SEAs, and reconfiguring or abandoning small or ineffective SEAs are among some of strategies that could assist the long-term sustainability of the SEA approach.
Description: Reports were scanned in black and white at a resolution of 600 dots per inch and were converted to text using Adobe Paper Capture Plug-in.
Rights: CC0 1.0 Universal
Appears in Collections:The PCSU and HPI-CESU Technical Reports 1974 - current

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