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  Clearing Lava Tree State Monument

In a collaborative project involving the University of Hawai'i, the Hawai'i Department of Agriculture, USDA’s Wildlife Services Division, the Hawai'i Department of Land and Natural Resources, the County of Hawaii, and the Hawaii Community Correctional Center, a small portion of Lava Tree State park was cleared of non-native plants and exotic weeds to reduce habitat for coqui frogs. Non-native plants cleared from the park included impatiens, philodendron, strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum), and Koster’s curse (Clidemia hirta). Fallen albizia trees (Molucca albizia) were cut into smaller logs and chipped for mulch. The cleared area was sprayed with 16% citric acid. The plot represents a small percentage of the park, and its location was selected so that clearing it would not have the impact of causing the coqui frogs to flee to outlying residential areas.

In the next phase of the cleanup, Nanawale Community Association and the nonprofit environmental group Malama O Puna will organize replanting the area with native plants, such as kopiko ula (Psychotria hawaiiensis), papala keapu (Pisonia spp.), kolea lau nui (Myrsine lessertiana), a'ali'i (Dodonaea sandwichensis), koki'o ke'oke'o (Hibiscus arnottianus), pukiawe (Leptecophylla tameiameia), and lama (Diospyros sandwichensis). Pictures of these native plants are available online at the University of Hawaii Botany Department’s Hawaiian Alien Plant Studies website .

Clearing Lava Tree State Monument:
Typical Coqui frog habitat
another typical Coqui frog habitat
clearing of understory
a) Typical understory vegetation at the park that provided habitat for coqui frogs b) Another typical coqui frog habitat c) Phase I: clearing of understory

Photos by A. Hara, UH–CTAHR


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