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War In The Pacific Marine troops landing on Guam
  Park Plants Get a Closer Look
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While War in the Pacific NHP was founded in 1978, the park has never had a comprehensive vegetation survey, which has hampered the park's ability to effectively manage its terrestrial natural resources. With funding from the Pacific Island Network Inventory and Monitoring Program, botanists have begun to inventory the plants in the park. The work, started in early June 2004, will take up to a year to complete

Joan Yoshioka, a botanist from Hawaii , is  working with the park Biological Technician Jenny  Drake to collect and press field samples of all of the park's plant species. To  date, over 600 records have been collected  in the park, documented over 400 species. Many  of the plants are rare and/or endemic to the  island of Guam. Park biologists were please to  learn that it contains some areas of relatively  undisturbed native limestone forest. All of the  collected samples will be archived at the  University of Guam as herbarium specimens until  the park has the facilities to house and maintain  the collection on their own. The park staff is  working closely with University of Guam botanist Dr. Lynn Raulerson to identify the plant and fern species. In the photo above Park Biotech Jenny Drake examines one of the park's many fern species (Angiopteris evecta)

While the project is advancing, the work has not been without difficulties. Heavy rains have made walking in the field challenging. Dense vegetation, bees, and the relative isolation of some areas have made for long field days, followed by equally evenings pressing and photo graphing plant specimens. The field crews have also found unexploded ordinance left over from WWII. The shear number of the plant species has caused Joan to extend her stay in Guam on by a week, so that she can better survey the park's vegetation. The park hopes to get a final report of the group's findings in early 2005.

Dwayne Minton

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