Webinar: Innovative Approaches to Addressing Forest Health and Invasive Species in the Pacific Islands

The Western Governors’ Association webinar, Innovative Approaches to Addressing Forest Health and Invasive Species in the Pacific Islands, explored the various risks that invasive pests and pathogens pose to vulnerable island ecosystems.

Invasive species can have particularly devastating effects on specialized island ecosystems and economies. Panelists discussed the challenges related to invasive species prevention and control in the U.S. Pacific Islands.

The webinar was moderated by WGA Policy Advisor Bill Whitacre. Panelists included: Susan Cordell, Director, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, U.S. Forest Service (view slides); DJ Sene, American Samoa Community College, Agriculture, Community and Natural Resources Division; Pua Michael, Head Forester, Division of Forestry, Palau Bureau of Agriculture; and Chelsa Muna-Brecht, Director, Guam Department of Agriculture (view slides).

Highlights from the webinar:

“Many island species are highly endemic and have lost their ability to compete with invasive species. These systems are more vulnerable to invasion from the get-go. Once an invasive species becomes established, it can create cascading effects system-wide.Susan Cordell

“Our top three forest species from 2002 are now facing annihilation from the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle and Asian Cycad Scale, two invasive species. You need to think about what losing your top three species will do to your landscape, let alone your ecosystem.” Chelsa Muna-Brecht

The webinar was part of a series for the Western Governors’ Biosecurity and Invasive Species Initiative, the central policy initiative of WGA Chair Hawaii Gov. David Ige.

For questions about sponsorship opportunities, please contact WGA Director of Development, Sarah Olsen at 720.897.4540 or solsen@westgov.org. To learn more about the Initiative, contact WGA Policy Advisor Bill Whitacre at 720.897.4538 or bwhitacre@westgov.org. Get the latest news about the West and its governors by following the Western Governors' Association on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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