What are invasive species?
The Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) manages invasive species in order to protect Hawaii’s native species and natural resources. In Hawaii, invasive species are those that are both
- not native to Hawaii (i.e., species that were introduced by human assistance rather than by their own means of introduction), and
- harmful to the environment, economy, and/or human health.
It is important to note that not all introduced species are considered invasive, only those that cause environmental or economic harm, or harm to human health. Regardless of whether or not a species is considered “invasive,” Hawaiʻi Administrative Rules (HAR) Chapter 124 prohibits the release of introduced wildlife (see HAR Chapter 124 for more information or for exceptions). Due to the prevalence of invasive species as an environmental concern, many of the projects managed by DLNR DOFAW include components relevant to invasive species issues. The links below provide more information on invasive species as a problem in Hawaiʻi and on DOFAW’s role in invasive species management.
- Report an Invasive Species: If you see an invasive species, you can report it to the 643PEST network, which is comprised of the 643-PEST telephone hotline (which directs to the Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture), the 643pest.org website, or the 643PEST mobile app. The website and mobile app are designed to help route reports to the appropriate responding agency, if a response is determined to be necessary.
- Invasive species impact multiple sectors of life in Hawaiʻi and are not the responsibility of any one program, but rather a large collection of programs at different agencies. To understand how invasive species are managed in Hawaiʻi, visit the website of the interagency Hawaii Invasive Species Council (HISC): a cabinet-level board consisting of the directors of six state departments including DLNR, HDOA, HDOT, DOH, DBEDT, and UH. The HISC develops invasive species policy, supports interagency initiatives, and disburses funding for prevention, control, research, and outreach projects. The HISC program is administered by staff within DOFAW’s wildlife program.
- Invasive species profiles are available on the HISC website for users interested in learning about specific invasive species.
- Remove Rats, Restore Hawaiʻi: DOFAW is an active member of the Partnership to Protect Hawaii’s Native Species to address the impacts of rodents in Hawaiʻi.
- Users interested in Brown Tree Snake coordination can learn more via the Brown Tree Snake Technical Working Group. This working group, mandated by the federal Brown Tree Snake Control and Eradication Act of 2004, coordinates funding, research, and detection and response capacity for the invasive Brown Tree Snake (Boiga irregularis).
Injurious Wildlife refers a subset of invasive species for which Hawaiʻi has additional restrictions. While it is prohibited under HAR 124 to release introduced wildlife, HAR 124 specifically restricts release, transport to new parts of the state, and export from the state for species designated as injurious (see HAR Chapter 124 for more information or for exceptions). This includes species of injurious wildlife that people may possess as pets, such as pet parrots or Jackson’s chameleons. Individuals wishing to transport or export injurious wildlife, or individuals wishing to transport or export injurious wildlife for research, need to coordinate with DOFAW and will likely need a permit. Information and permit applications are available on our injurious wildlife page.