E komo mai! This website exists to communicate the real threats posed to our ohana, our aina, our farms, and our islands by invasive species and what we can do to protect against them. Many resources are provided in this one convenient location to assist and connect us with others who love Hawaii and wish to protect our way of life. It also builds a bridge between us and state government to meaningfully address invasive species through better policies and greater funding. Our voices matter! Engage in the 2018 Legislative Session to preserve our beautiful islands.
Let’s talk story:
Did you know that Hawaii suffers from more invasive species than any other state in the nation? We are constantly vulnerable to their introduction due to our heavy reliance on imports. Over 80 percent of our goods and almost 90 percent of our food comes from the outside and provides avenues for their entry due to inadequate inspection at our ports. Consequently, new invasive species arrive every day! For those that become established their impacts are often swift and severe due to our unique, fragile ecosystem.
The Hawaii State Legislature has summed up the risks and the importance of immediate action in a single sentence: “Invasive species pose the single greatest threat to Hawaii’s economy and natural environment, and the health and lifestyle of Hawaii’s people.”
Time is of the essence! Stronger biosecurity is paramount in order to protect our islands. Much time has been wasted. Twenty-five years ago the 1992 Nature Conservancy of Hawaii report recommended a cohesive and comprehensive pest prevention and control system. Yet new pests have continuously been allowed to arrive and establish causing irreparable devastation and loss.
The good news is we have a path forward. The Hawaii Interagency Biosecurity Plan (HIBP) is a comprehensive 10-year interagency playbook developed to provide a wide-ranging and coordinated plan for our state (2017-2027). Some of the many essential actions the plan calls for include better port inspections facilities and adequate staffing at the Department of Agriculture (HDOA).
“The Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC) defines “invasive species” as an alien nonnative species that is also harmful to either the environment, economy, or human health…Biodiversity, which invasive species threaten, is the variety of life on Earth. It plays a pivotal role in providing food and medicine. Biodiversity is necessary to maintain the balance of life because species depend on each other to survive. Humans depend on plants, animals, and other organisms for life processes that regulate the ecosystem. When biodiversity is diminished, our quality of life is also diminished.”
~Rago Fiamma and Dean Sugano
c Andrea Pro 2015
“The Magical Wiliwili Forest”
A woodcut print depicting 18 species that are native to the dry forest ecosystem. The beauty and importance of Hawaii’s native species and ecosystems are expressed in the colorful woodcut prints of Kona artist, Andrea Pro. Mention HIunite when you purchase an original woodcut print from Andreaʻs website and 25% of the purchase price will be donated to help Hawaiʻi Unites Against Invasives protect Hawaiiʻs native ecosystems.
Now it’s time to implement it – without delay! But here’s the catch. The Hawaii State Legislature has made claim to understand what’s at risk yet it is not addressing the magnitude of the threat as reported in the 2015 LRB Invasive Species update, “If Hawaii is to retain its environmentally and ecologically unique sense of place for future generations of residents and visitors alike, then the State and its partners need a robust, comprehensive plan of action to meet this threat to its continued existence and a sustained commitment to support the execution of that plan.” Fiamma Rago, Dean Sugano, Can’t See the Forest for the (Albizia) Trees.
What’s missing? Greater citizen action! Concerned individuals and groups are coming together at HIunite. By organizing we will make a difference. Take a moment to visit the Citizen Action page to learn how you can support stronger biosecurity via the Hawaii Interagency Biosecurity Plan (HIBP) and other important Bills.