A park team with expertise in eradication of invasive plants is helping the Republic of Palau in its efforts to defeat the highly invasive tamaligi tree, which threatens the Palauan ecosystem.
In June, park ecologist Tavita Togia was invited by Dr. Flint Hughes of the U.S. Forest Service’s Institute of Pacific Island Forestry Office to help conduct research training and community outreach programs in the Republic of Palau. Togia and his crew have employed their expertise to eradicate invasive plants and restore many of the native rainforests in the national park.
Togia provided local Palauan practitioners hands-on training, including instruction on how to remove the bark of the tamaligi with machetes—one of the effective methods for killing these trees. The Palau Conservation Society filmed this instruction and aired it on local television.
To monitor and understand the impacts of the tamaligi invasion, 15 long-term monitoring plots were established and include forests that were intact and invaded and where the tamaligi had been killed. A follow-up visit one year later to these plots will provide a better understanding of the impact of tamaligi on native forest growth and composition and to understand the response of the forest to the removal.
Despite other invasive tree threats, Togia said that “the tamaligi is the most critical threat to Palau’s native forest. Now is the time to take aggressive management action and deny this destructive tree that takes over everything Palauan.”
Other partners included the Palau Forestry Section of the Bureau of Agriculture, Belau National Museum, Babeldaob Watershed Alliance, Ngaremiengui State Governor Wilson Ongo, a Ngaremiengui community representative, an Aimeliik state representative, a Ngapang state representative, and the University of Hawaii’s Pacific Internship Programs for Exploring Science.
The National Park of American Samoa was established in 1988 to preserve the coral reefs, tropical forest and archeological and cultural resources of American Samoa, to maintain the habitat of fruit bats, and to provide educational opportunities for visitors and residents. National park lands and waters are leased from villages and the American Samoa Government through a long-term agreement with the National Park Service.
For more information about visiting the National Park of American Samoa, call 699-3982, email