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Natural Sciences Education Abstract - Articles

Globalization and Invasive Species Issues in Hawaii: Role-Playing Some Local Perspectives


This article in NSE

  1. Vol. 36 No. 1, p. 147-157
    Received: July 5, 2007

    * Corresponding author(s): amfox@ifas.ufl.edu
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  1. Alison M. Fox *a and
  2. Lloyd L. Loopeb
  1. a Dep. of Agronomy, P.O. Box 110500, Univ. of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0500
    b USGS Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center, Haleakala Field Station, P.O. Box 369, Makawao, HI 96768


Increasingly recognized as having significant economic and ecological impacts, non-native invasive species have become an important interdisciplinary topic in biological and social science courses. Oceanic island systems like Hawaii have been particularly susceptible to invaders and efforts to prevent further invasions focus on reducing the accidental and purposeful pathways by which harmful species arrive. A proposal that was initiated in 1988 to expand the airport at Kahului to allow direct international flights to Maui was embraced by some residents as a much-needed plan for expanding tourism and providing long-term economic improvements. Others predicted that if flights arrived from a variety of Pacific Rim countries, invasive species would be introduced that could find a suitable new home somewhere in Maui's diverse habitats. Such invaders would likely include new agricultural pests and threats to natural resource conservation, especially to the many endemic species in Haleakala National Park, and hence could have negative long-term impacts on the ecology and quality of life on Maui. We have developed materials based on this on-going, real-world scenario so that students can develop their research, communication, and critical thinking skills through examination of these conflicting ecological and social issues. Used either as a classroom role-playing exercise or as a case study for students working independently, participants will integrate information from biological, geographical, social, and political science disciplines, while learning how local business and conservation interests can influence, and be influenced by, changes in global trade and transportation.

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Copyright © 2007. Copyright © 2007 by the American Society of Agronomy