Ecologist says Guam should plant native species in urban areas

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UOG Center for Island Sustainability Associate Director Else Demeulenaere says Guam should plant more native endemic plants in its urban areas.

Guam – Many native species of plants and trees on Guam are endangered and many of these plants can only be found on Guam. Demeulenaere spoke to the Rotary Club of Guam Thursday to spread awareness about the importance of including native and endemic plants into our urban landscape. Demeulenaere says plants like the white flowered gaosali shrub or the ifit tree would be good to add to the landscape. This will not only help to save these native species but will also add to the biodiversity of Guam and prevent erosion which in turn protects the reef and marine habitats. Demeulenaere says places like schools, businesses and even hotels can incorporate native plants into their landscapes.

“I think hotels could be playing a crucial role and there is strand vegetation all over Guam and I think keeping it natural and finding a corridor species towards the hotel would be really nice. I think and [it] adds to our biodiversity keeping it a more natural setting and I’ve seen several examples where hotels are trying to incorporate native trees,” said Demeulenaere.

Demeulenaere says that the Center for Island Sustainability will soon be researching the possibility of growing native plants on rooftops. Rooftop plants act as insulation and keep buildings cool.