3 Sep 2007

Research on invasive tree in American Samoa

6:18 am on 3 September 2007

Researchers from the United States Department of Agriculture have started research in American Samoa on an invasive tree species.

The tamaligi tree crowds out native trees and shrubs.

Its rapid growth displaces culturally-important native species and has a negative impact on Samoan subsistence economies.

The researchers, Dr Flint Hughes and Amanda Ouwelo of the Institute for Pacific Islands Forestry Division, are studying the effect of efforts by the National Park Service to remove the invasive species.

Dr Hughes says the territory has to continue with eradication efforts.

"I'd say that we have about 5 or 10 years before tamaligi will be quite widespread and perhaps too wide spread to deal with , so the reason I am down here, I'm so interested to work with the park service on these efforts is because I think we really need to do something now or it will be too late."

Dr Hughes says tamaligi is now so wide spread in Hawaii that nothing can be done to eradicate or control it.