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Invasive Pine Control Project to Begin Next Week at Haleakalā National Park

December 7, 2014

Between December 8 and 11, 2014, Haleakalā National Park will use contracted helicopters to eliminate 3000 invasive pine trees in the park. These trees are located on terrain and cliffs that are too steep or remote for park staff to safely access on foot. The removal will conserve the iconic crater views and protect species that depend on native habitats for survival. In case of bad weather, alternative dates will be January 13-15, 2015. No trail, campground, road, cabin, or other closures will occur during this project.

GPS photo of the pine locations.

GPS photo of the pine locations.

Three non-native pine species (Monterey pine, Mexican weeping pine, and Maritime pine) are spreading through the crater. These pines displace endemic and endangered species, change soil chemistry, and increase the potential for wildfire in habitats not adapted to fire.

Silversword--endemic, threatened species.

Silversword–endemic, threatened species.

“While park biologists work hard to control pine trees that are accessible by trail, many are found in places too dangerous, steep, or remote to reach safely,” said park superintendent Natalie Gates. “Helicopters will allow removal of this invasive species with fewer safety risks for our staff.”

Iconic crater view.

Iconic crater view.

Pilots and “spotters” have been trained to target the pines without endangering native species. Park employees will be stationed at park overlooks to answer questions from the visiting public during the helicopter operations. This is the first of two phases for the pine removal project. The second phase is scheduled for summer of 2015.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Aka permalink
    December 11, 2014 8:55 am

    Hi, thank you for your work to protect our native ecosystems.
    Was wondering what type of control will be used to remove the trees?
    Also would any of the biomass be available for researchers?
    Mahalo!

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