Three factors threaten the park's capability to preserve the native ecosystems over time:
First, invasive alien plants and animals threaten the native rainforest ecosystems on all the islands. Koster's curse, Clidemia hirta, and mile-a-minute vine are immediate threats whenever the forest canopy is disrupted either by human clearing or the frequent hurricanes (called cyclones in Samoa). Miconia, a tree that has totally disrupted the native forests in Tahiti is a potential threat. The park's small staff is only beginning to learn resource management techniques to successfully slow the spread of these invaders. Tamaligi palagi (Falcataria moluccana), another invasive tree that shades out native forest, is being actively and successfully thwarted by park and village partnerships.
Second, higher ocean temperatures, likely triggered by broad global warming trends, threaten the parks superb coral reefs. The park is conducting baseline studies of the coral communities to track these changes. This park's coral reefs will be an early warning indicator measuring changes in the South Pacific seas.
Third, the Tutuila island unit of the park is threatened by the large rate of increase in human population now occurring adjacent to the Tutuila unit park lands. The increase subsistence take is at increasing and non-sustainable levels.
Did You Know?
American Samoa, the only U.S. territory south of the Equator, consists of 10 rugged, highly eroded volcanic islands (five inhabited) and two coral atolls (one inhabited). The land area of the territory is 76 square miles.