Native plants and cultural connection


Else Demeulenaere, associate director of Natural Resources at the University of Guam, makes a presentation at the Guam Congress Building on “Promoting Planting Native Plants and their Cultural Connection” Oct. 24, 2019. Photo by Phillip Cruz Jr.

Guam has 54 endemic plant species— 50 of them are endangered. “Even for those that are not on the endangered list, efforts should be made to keep them off,” said Else Demeulenaere, associate director of Natural Resources at the University of Guam.

Demeulenaere made a presentation at the Guam Congress Building on “Promoting Planting Native Plants and their Cultural Connection” on Oct. 24. “I wanted to bring to attention that traditional ecological knowledge should be incorporated into management practices and policies,” she said.

One plant species that Demeulenaere and her team are seeking to protect is the Hayun Lagu, scientifically known as Serianthes nelsonii. The only one tree left is in Ritidian, near the construction site of the Department of Defense’s live-fire training complex in Northwest Field. Guam senators earlier asked the Navy to pause the firing range project but military officials assured local leaders that mitigation measures are in place to protect the tree.