BIISC was formed in the 1990s when a group of scientists, land managers, and conservationists recognized the need for early detection and rapid response to newly discovered invasive plants. While some of our island’s worst invasive species, like miconia and christmasberry, would require millions of dollars and huge inputs of resources to control, there was a window of time where they might have been eradicated. The BIISC plant control team seeks to act within that window – finding new invaders early, and removing them before they become as widespread as miconia and christmasberry.
BIISC provides free plant identification to members of the public, who are asked to report any “new” plants they notice. We also actively monitor potential pathways for introductions, like retail nurseries and trailsides, to look for new invaders. Potential targets are assessed by our Steering Committee of experts in forestry, agriculture, and resource management, utilizing stakeholder and community input. Below are the plants currently slated for eradication (successfully eradicated species can be found here). Once a plant is declared eradicated, efforts continue, with some sites being monitored for years as determined by seed longevity.
In some cases, although plants are far too widespread for eradication with the limited resources available, there is still an interest in keeping particular invasive species out of special places. In those cases, BIISC works with land managers to actively control an invasive plant in a designated area. For instance, our crews regularly survey and treat for fountain grass in the Manuka Natural Area Reserve, working with our partners at the Hawaii’s State Department of Land and Natural Resources and Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park to prevent the dangerous fire-promoting grass from entering these important landscapes.