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United States

Kure Atoll

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Conservation benefit: Equipment for eradication of invasive plants to protect seabirds

Date Approved: 03.2011

Kure Atoll is located at the northwest tip of the Hawaiian archipelago, more than 1400 miles from Honolulu. It’s the world’s northernmost coral atoll. Green Island, the atoll’s only permanent island, is Hawaii’s most significant seabird sanctuary. Seventeen bird species, numbering 100,000 birds, are found there.

This fragile atoll is threatened by several invasive plant species, particularly Verbesina. The invasive species crowd out native plants, leaving less habitat for nesting birds and decreasing chick survival. The black-footed and Laysan albatross, the Christmas shearwater, and the Tristram’s storm petrel are especially vulnerable.

The Kure Atoll Conservancy works to eradicate invasive plants and reintroduce native ones on the atoll. A Seacology grant will fund supplies for its ongoing efforts.

Project Updates

March 2015

The native plant total has increased to 17 species thanks to deliberate introduction and reintroduction efforts and to the discovery of the native species Lepturus repens on the northwest side of Green Island. Other native plant species that have been introduced include Akulikuli (Sesuvium portulacastrum), Makaloa (Cyperus polystachios), Makaloa (Cyperus laevigatus), and Popolo (Solanum nelsonii).

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