Hawaii is the Endangered Species Capital of the World. With 100s of plants and animals listed as Endangered or Threatened, there are more endangered species per square mile on these islands than any other place on the planet. Some of the reasons for a species demise include human intervention and pervasive alien introductions. Ecosystem destruction, species displacement, competition for food resources, and hunting have decimated the native fauna and flora of the Hawaiian Islands since European contact, states Bishop Museum which lists four categories on their Hawaii Endangered Species website, the category for “EXTINCT” lists 28 birds, 72 snails, 74 insects and 97 plants.
The impact of waste, plastic and climate change in addition to chemical and atmospheric pollution is a constant threat to all life on our planet. Endangered animals such as humpback whales, Hawaiian monk seals and green sea turtles are protected and slowly increasing their numbers but are still challenged by pollution and human generated waste in ocean waters. The list of threatened Hawaii birds alone has over 45 species listed, joining numerous fish, plants and algae among other plants and animals. Another major contributor is the invasion of threatening alien species.
What is an invasive species? An invasive species is an alien species (plant, animal, or microbe transported by humans to a location outside its native range) whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health (U.S. Presidential Executive Order 13112).
Hawaii is in the midst of a growing invasive species crisis affecting the islands’ endangered plants and animals, overall environmental and human health, and the viability of its tourism- and agriculture-based economy. Hawaii’s unique environment is home to more eco-systems than anywhere in the world. It’s isolated location which has fostered unique plants, animals and sea life which are increasing at risk of extinction creating a biodiversity hotspot for the planet.
The Invasive Species Committees of Hawaii (ISCs) are island-based partnerships of government agencies, non-government organizations, and private businesses working to protect each island from the most threatening invasive pests. Each ISC partnership also has a paid staff and field crew to implement rapid response and control plans.
The ISCs formed on each island to address the need for rapid response and control work on new invasive pests that have the potential to severely impact the economy, ecosystem, watersheds, human health, and quality of life. A driving objective of the ISCs is to control the most threatening pests while populations are still relatively small and it is economically feasible to control or eliminate them.
The Oahu Invasive Species Committee (OISC) is a voluntary partnership of private, governmental, and non-profit organizations united to prevent new invasive species infestations on the island of Oahu, to eradicate incipient invasive species, and to stop established invasive species from spreading.OISC field crews survey the backcountry and residential areas for miconia, fountain grass, blackberry, and a host of other weeds. In partnership with the Oahu Coqui Frog Working Group, OISC responds to coqui frog reports and has conducted systematic treatment for coqui frogs at Oahu’s only naturalized population. In partnership with the Bishop Museum, OISC is cataloging new plant introductions to Hawaii and assessing their weediness using the Hawaii Weed Risk Assessment. This way, OISC can control invasive species before they “jump the fenceline” and become too costly to control. You are invited to join the Oahu Early Detection (OED) Projectto help locate incipient weeds on Oahu.OISC meetingsOISC holds public meetings to update its partners. Please call (808) 266-7994 for more information. Meeting notes and agendaare posted.OISC volunteer programHelp protect Oahu! OISC leads regular volunteer worktrips. Emailoisc@hawaii.edu to sign up. Expect rugged hiking and bring water, bag lunch, sunscreen, and raingear.OISC action plansThe following documents are in PDF format and can be read withAdobe Reader.
Contact usOISC staff welcome your questions, comments, and participation. Please see OISC contact information.Join our e-mail listFor up-to-date information about OISC activities, join the OISC e-mail list.Call the Oahu’s Invasive Species Hotline at 643-PEST