55 coconut trees being cut down at Asan Beach Park - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

55 coconut trees being cut down at Asan Beach Park

by Jolene Toves

Guam - Efforts to mitigate and eradicate the rhino beetle as well as other invasive species are underway.   

The rhinoceros beetle were first discovered in 2007 and since then have devastated coconut trees across the island proving to be a very serious problem but coconut rhinoceros eradication team leader Roland Quitugua says it is not a lost cause. "The destructive nature of the Rhinoceros Beetle is evident as the critters are making a meal of the coconut trees here at one of our island's most visited parks. As you can see behind me trees that have been mortally wounded have been marked off and will be cut down beginning tomorrow," he explained.

55 coconut trees are scheduled to be removed. Of those trees, 30 are large coconut trees while the rest are smaller juvenile trees. "Because the amount of green waste that's available and because most coconut trees are not maintained that's what's causing these problems and the outbreaks," he added.  

But the damage that we are seeing is rhino beetle damage that has happened six months to a year ago and the National Park Service has been working with his team to mitigate the damages.  "If you notice down at the park it's the trees that are closest to the road and so there is one particular area that's more hard hit than the others the trees basically along the beachside are relatively have low instances of coconut rhino beetles," added Quitugua.

Once the trees have been removed the green waste piles created will be covered with special netting trapping the rhino beetles within as well as luring rhino beetles in the area into the net. And while the battle to mitigate the beetles in Asan Beach Park is underway efforts to eradicate the critter island wide as a task force has been formed comprised of key stakeholders.

Governor Eddie Calvo said, "What I directed them to do is come together, come up with a game plan how do we deal with issues in regards to controlling the rhino beetles, the fire ants and other invasive species."

Part of the game plan is an education program for farmers and residents, addressing green waste practices and managing natural resources.

We should note that removal of the coconut trees will begin tomorrow and continue through Friday. The park will remain open however sections will be closed off with caution tape for visitor's safety.

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