Is Getting Rid of Feral Pigs Enough to Protect Native Plant Species?

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

A new study by University of Hawaii researchers shows that the removal of feral pigs may not be enough to protect plants native to the islands from being overrun by nonnative species.

The study, published online last month in Biotropica: The Journal of Tropical Biology and Conservation and slated to appear in a forthcoming print issue, examined the effects of feral pig removal on native and nonnative plant species in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. In Hawaii, nonnative hooved animals, such as feral pigs, are thought to be especially harmful because native plant species evolved without developing defenses against them. 

In the UH study, after feral pigs were removed from a selected area, not only did the number of native of plants increase, but so did the number of nonnative, or invasive, plants including the highly invasive strawberry guava.

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