We found an interesting article about the ecological change wrought by introduced coconut palms on a previously coconut-free island in the central Pacific Ocean.
It’s sad to think that the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera), a lovely icon of the tropics, can also be a human-introduced invasive species on pristine islands like Palmyra. This atoll, directly south of Hawai’i in a belt of heavy rainfall just north of the equator, has a rich indigenous forest on its sparse land area (4.6 square miles) — and an extraordinary coral reef and lagoon habitat underwater.
The newly coconut-dominated portions of the landscape attract far fewer birds than the native forest, and thus lack the guano-enriched soils of the native forest. Even where native forest plants grow near the coconuts, their foliage, flowers and fruits are less-nutritious than they are when growing in coconut-free parts of the island. Such impoverishment puts dependent organisms like birds and insects at a disadvantage and is likely to reduce biological diversity.
Palmyra Atoll is an unincorporated territory of the USA, administered as a National Wildlife Refuge by the Interior Department.