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volunteers protect endangered fire tree
NORTHWEST FIELD, Guam – Volunteers repair the seven-foot high ungulate-proof fence here, Oct. 29. The 36th Civil Engineer Squadron Environmental Flight hosted a volunteer work day for military personnel and their families by assisting in the replacement and repair of an ungulate, deer and pig proof, fence around the federally endangered Fire Tree. (U.S. Air Force courtesy photo/Released)
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Volunteers help save endangered tree

Posted 11/13/2012   Updated 11/14/2012 Email story   Print story

    


36th Civil Engineer Squadron

11/13/2012 - ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- The 36th Civil Engineer Squadron Environmental Flight hosted a volunteer workday for military personnel and their families by assisting in the replacement and repair of an ungulate, deer and pig proof, fence around the federally endangered fire tree at Northwest Field here, Oct. 20.

The fire tree, or Serianthes Nelsonii, is the last of its kind on the island of Guam.

More than 40 volunteers showed up during the conservation project, with representatives from 36th CES, 734th Air Mobility Squadron, 36th Mobility Response Squadron, Naval Airborne Weapons Maintenance Unit 1, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Guam Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources.

"The workday was a huge success," said Leanne Obra, 36th CES environmental flight natural resources specialist. "Thanks to the hard work of volunteers, the fence is now functional and seedling and sapling survival is no longer threatened by ungulate browsing and trampling."

There are 120 individual fire trees on Rota and only one surviving tree on Guam. The only tree on Guam is located at Andersen's Northwest Field and is now surrounded by a seven-foot high fence. The ungulate-proof fence was non-functional prior to the volunteer workday, making scientific research studies on the tree, its seedlings, and the surrounding habitat difficult.

The volunteer workday was setup by the Environmental Flight's conservation program to increase the ties between natural resources management and military readiness. The Conservation Program is responsible for managing 8 endangered species and their habitat on base.

Management actions include monitoring endangered plants and wildlife, controlling invasive animals such as pigs and deer, reforesting degraded habitats with native trees and conducting scientific research. They also inform base personnel, their dependents and the general public about natural resource issues specific to Andersen Air Force Base.

"The primary goal is to ensure that the military mission is accomplished and that training opportunities are realized to the fullest extent possible in compliance with all applicable federal and local environmental laws and policies," said Ms. Obra.

A long-term scientific study is now underway to increase the understanding of the ecology of the fire tree in order to develop appropriate conservation measures and recovery actions for this specie.

For more information on the environment and conservation contact the 36th CES environmental flight at 366-5078.



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