(HONOLULU) – Today marks the beginning of Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Awareness Month (HISAM), an annual campaign to prevent and minimize the impacts of invasive species and highlight the positive steps being taken to protect our islands.

(Honolulu)- One of Hawaii’s most important native plants is the Naio tree. Naio has been widely planted in landscapes and is an important component of our island’s coastal ecosystems. A decade ago naio became threatened with a small invasive insect pest known as thrips found on Hawai’i Island. Thrips are narrow, dark brown to black and approximately 2.2.5 mm in size and are native to Tasmania. They were likely first accidentally introduced in the U.S. in California.

The interagency Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC) has approved a budget of $2.55 million for fiscal year 2014 to support statewide programs to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species in Hawaii, as well as management and public outreach efforts.

(For the full list and more details on HISC-funded projects, visit: https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/hisc/projects/fy14/)