Stripping of Acacia koa Bark by Rats on Hawaii and Maui

Scowcroft, Paul G.
Sakai, Howard F.
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University of Hawai'i Press
Koa (Acacia koa) is the most valuable native timber species in Hawaii. Bark stripping of young trees by rats, a common but unstudied phenomenon, may affect survival, growth, and quality of koa. Up to 54% of the trees sampled in 4- to 6-year-old stands in the Laupahoehoe and Waiakea areas on Hawaii were wounded by rats; only 5% of trees sampled in a l-year-old stand on Borge Ridge, Maui, were wounded. Wounds were generally long and narrow. Complete girdling was not observed, and direct mortality seemed low. However, indirect effects of damage-deformation of stems, infection by pathogens, and premature death-require further study. Because only young trees seem susceptible to bark stripping, rodent control may be desirable during the first 5 years of koa stand growth.
Scowcroft PG, Sakai HF. 1984. Stripping of Acacia koa bark by rats on Hawaii and Maui. Pac Sci 38(1): 80-86.
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