New invasive weeds have been discovered throughout Hawaii, some of which pose a significant fire risk

New invasive weeds have been discovered throughout Hawaii, some of which pose a significant fire risk

Enyapogon syncroides It is the most flammable herb discovered by Facenda. It was found in Mecca.

A new species of flammable, invasive weed has been discovered and identified on most of the Hawaiian Islands by a university Hawaii At Manoa School of Life Sciences Ph.D student.

Kevin Faccenda discovered 34 previously unreported invasive and/or weedy species Hawaii During more than 50 days of field work conducted across war, clothesShelter, Molokai And Hawaii The island over the past year. Six of these species have never been found outside their native range before Hawaii The first place in the world to experience naturalization by this species. Controlling the spread of these and other grass species is critical to avoiding future wildfires, like the one that devastated Lahaina on Aug. 8, says Facenda.

Person in tall dried grass
Kevin Faccenda conducts the field work

“If we can respond to new fire-promoting grass species and contain or eliminate them before they spread widely throughout the landscape, we can reduce ecosystem flammability and thus the impacts of wildland fires across the islands,” Facenda said. “If we don’t know the names and areas where fire-enhancing species grow across the landscape, how can we manage them?”

Three invasive weed species were discovered in the Lahaina area during field work by Faccenda before the Aug. 8 fire that destroyed the historic city. Fortunately, none of them are considered to pose a significant wildfire risk, and according to Facenda, it is unlikely that they added to the dry brush that helped spread the deadly wildfires that were mostly composed of two African grasslands, buffel and guinea grass, which are The dominant grasses seen on dry, leeward hillsides today.

At least two newly reported weed species are considered highly flammable and have been discovered in multiple locations across the state. The most flammable grasses are grasses from Africa or India, Fasinda said. Enyapogon syncroidesWhich was found in Mecca one day clothes. Faccenda found this plant with the help of Professor Michael Ross from Cape town The community college reported seeing more than 500 plants largely confined to infrequently mowed areas along the side of the road. However, based on the growth behavior of the shallow and rocky soil, Facenda said it was likely that this grass would spread on the hills separating Makaha and Makao-swimming valleys and may exacerbate the flammability of this already dry area.

Strings of grass
Botryococcus macro

The second type is highly flammable Botryococcus macroit was found I’m sorry, clothes, MolokaiShelter, Rescue And Hawaii The height of the island ranges from 15 meters to 1,300 metres. Based on preserved specimens stored at the Bishop Museum, this species was present at Hawaii Since 1936, but has been misidentified by Hawaiian botanists until now. This Australian weed had previously only been recorded as naturalized in New Zealand, but little information could be found regarding its potential as a weed or its ecology, Facenda said. In Australia, this plant is associated with grassy forest disturbance, can tolerate drought and thrives in low-fertility soils.

In addition to invasive weeds, Faccenda has found several agricultural weeds that are harmful to agricultural crops, natural habitats or ecosystems, humans or livestock, including one federal noxious weed, a species of African crabgrass. This species has been reported to Hawaii Department of Agriculture as well as invasive species committees on each island.

Faccenda’s research was funded in part by the Pacific Islands Department of the Interior’s Climate Adaptation Science Center. Faccenda is mentored by Professor Curtis Daehler in the School of Life Sciences.

View Faccenda’s full research paper.

-by Mark Arakaki

    (Tags for translation)University of Hawaii

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