VIDEO: “We Are Guahan” Says Buildup Will Destroy Acres of Native Limestone Forests

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Guam – We Are Guahan’s latest “Grey Paper” outlines their concerns with the destruction of native limestone forest as a result of the military buildup. Their statistics are taken directly from the Environmental Impact Statement and from comments to the EIS provided by other agencies for example the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and the Department of Agriculture.

 “The total amount of area that’s gonna be cleared is larger than MongMong Toto Maite and Hagatna combined,” said We Are Guahan’s Leevin Camacho. Camacho is referring to the over 2,000 acres of jungle that will be destroyed due to clearing for the military buildup. Most of this or 1,549 acres will be comprised of native limestone forest. “A bulk of that is gonna be so that DOD can build housing at Finegayan and the former FAA property and I think 1600 acres are gonna be wiped out in that area alone,” said Camacho.

 The department of agriculture has stated that this destruction of native forest is a “signifigant impact that affects the viability of Guam’s forests including reductions in the benefits of forests: groundwater infiltration, potential habitat, biodiversity and water quality.” Part of the area that will be destroyed includes recovery habitat which is prime habitat for the endangered Fanihi or Fruit Bat, the Marianas Crow, and the Micronesian Kingfisher. These native species rely on native forest as they eat the seeds, nuts and fruits of the native plants to survive. They in turn help the native forests to grow by spreading and dispersing the seeds of native plants.

 “They are going to as part of their proposed buildup they’re also gonna destroy 13 hundred acres of recovery habitat for the Fanihi for the kingfisher and for the crow so when you read through it and they talk about mitigation what they plan to do is have a biologist go out one week before and if they see any Fanihi or any kingfishers they’re going to wait to come back until they don’t see any anymore . So, that’s not really mitigation that’s just waiting until out of sight out of mind,” said Camacho.

 Guam’s native limestone forests also contain many native plant species that are endangered and found only on Guam for example the Fadang which is in the brink of extinction due to invasive species that have attacked the indigenous plant.