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American Samoa

Resources

Geography

Geographic description

American Samoa is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located about 4 190 km/2 604 statute miles south-southwest of Honolulu, Hawaii, just east of the International Date Line (lat. 14° 18' S. and long. 170° 41' E.). These islands are 1 600 miles from New Zealand and 4 200 miles from Los Angeles. It consists of a group of seven islands/atolls in the southern Pacific Ocean: the main island of Tutuila (Figure 1)(139 km2/54 miles2); Aunu’u (1.5 km2/.5 miles2) and the Manu’a group (Figures 2 and 3), consisting of Ta’u (45.8 km2/16.5 miles2), Olosega 5.4 km2/2.08 miles2) and Ofu (7.3 km2/2.8 miles2). Some 320 km/199 miles to the north lay the privately owned Swains Atoll (2.6 km2/1 mile2) and uninhabited Rose Atoll {a wildlife refuge}(.5 km2/ .1 miles2). Swains and Rose are coral atolls while the other islands are mountainous and of volcanic origin. The total land area is 200 km2/77 miles2, (48 011 acres/19 430 ha).

The islands have a wet tropical climate. Temperatures range from 21 to 32° C (70o to 95o F). The annual rainfall ranges from 3 175 mm/125 inches at the airport to 5 000 mm/200 inches in Pago Pago to 7 600 mm/300 inches or more on the upper elevations on Ta’u Island. The driest months are June through September and the wettest December through March. The coolest weather coincides with the dry season and the warmest weather with the wet season. Heavy rain showers can occur all year and often cause damage such as flooding, landslides, electrical power failures and road and culvert damage. Hurricanes are fairly common, occurring generally once every decade.

Figure 1. Map of Tutuila Island. (American Samoa National Park in green).

Figure 2. Map of Ta’u Island (American Samoa National Park in green).

Figure 3. Map of Ofu and Olosega (American Samoa National Park in green).

Description of ecological zones

Before the arrival of the Polynesians more than 3,000 years ago, nearly all of American Samoa, from the seashore to the tops of the mountains, was covered with rain forests. Due to human activities-mostly shifting cultivation, and since the 1880’s, the development of commercial coconut plantations- the forest was replaced by secondary vegetation. Today, the very little virgin forest that remains is mostly on steep interior slopes and in the wet, cool montane regions away from villages. (Cole et al. 1988). Detailed zone information is shown in figure 4.

Figure 4. Schematic drawing of ecological land zones in meters above sea level.

Forest cover

Description of the natural woody vegetation

Many tracts of forest up to 500 m elevation have been altered at least to some degree by subsistence agriculture and other activities. Swains Island is an atoll that is politically part of American Samoa but phytogeographically allied to the Tokelau group. The following description of vegetation types and zones are derived from Mueller-Dombois and Fosberg (1998) and Whistler (1980, 1983, 1984, and 1992). Cole et al. (1988) did an additional survey and inventory.

Natural forests
Closed broad-leaved forests
Littoral Forest

Growing on sandy or rocky substrates in a narrow zone, littoral forest occurs between low- strand vegetation on the seaward side and lowland forest inland. The most extensive of the littoral communities, it is often dominated by a single tree species, especially Barringtonia asiatica, Calophyllum inophyllum, Hernandia nymphaeifolia, Pisonia grandis or Terminalia catappa. Rose Atoll supports a Pisonia forest. Other characteristic trees include Cerbera manghas, Cocos nucifera, Cordia subcordata, Guettarda speciosa, Neisosperma oppositifolia, Thespesia populnea and Tournefortia argentea.

In some areas seaward of the littoral forest, mono-dominant thickets of Pandanus tectorius 1 to 6 m high can be found (e.g., east coast of Ta‘u; Swains Island).

On Swains Island, only scattered patches of littoral forest remain, dominated by Hernandia nymphaeifolia or Pandanus. Other tree genera include Guettarda, Neisosperma, Pisonia and Tournefortia.

Mangrove Scrub and Forest

Mangrove forests dominated by stands of Bruguiera gymnorrhiza (oriental mangrove) typically occur in protected coastal bays and estuaries where fresh water enters the ocean forming closed canopy 12-15 m /40 to 50 ft high. These habitats are inundated by saline or brackish water at high tide and are often flooded by fresh water. The closed canopy allows only Bruguiera seedlings in the understory, but the swamp fern Acrostichum aureum and Rhizophora samoensis mangle (Red Mangrove) occur in disturbed, open areas. Species such as Xylocarpus moluccensis (Puzzlenut) and trees typical of littoral forests are also found along the margins of the mangrove forests.

Often fronting mangrove forests in disturbed areas is a mangrove scrub community dominated by small to medium-sized trees of Rhizophora samoensis. Where Rhizophora competes with the larger Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, the former is shaded out. Mangrove scrub is found, particularly, on the south-central coast of Tutuila.

Lowland Rain Forest

This is the most wide-ranging and complex forest type in American Samoa, the following three lowland rain forest types are distinguished by their assemblage of species and by substrate and moisture characteristics.

Diospyros Forest: A medium-statured forest on well-drained soil inland of littoral forest, this zone is dominated by Diospyros elliptica and D. samoensis in association with Syzygium clusiifolium and S. dealatum. Ficus obliqua is an important component and littoral species such as Pisonia grandis are occasionally seen. An example of this forest can be foundon Nu‘utele Islet off ‘Ofu.

Dysoxylum Forest: A low-statured forest dominated by Dysoxylum samoensis D. maota, this forest type can typically be found in alluvial valleys, on steep lowland cliffs, and on talus slopes (e.g., northern coast of Tutuila, east coast of Ta‘u). Other canopy trees include Barringtonia samoensis, Bischofia javanica, Cananga odorata, Elaeocarpus ulianus, Ficus scabra, Kleinhovia hospita, Macaranga stipulosa, Myristica fatua, Neonauclea forsteri and Terminalia richii.

Syzygium Forest: Representing a mature rain forest on ancient, deeply weathered volcanic soils, Syzygium forest can be found on lowland ridges and steep interior slopes. It is dominated by S. inophylloides; associated canopy trees include Alphitonia zizyphoides, Calophyllum neo-ebudicum, Canarium vitiense, Fagraea berteroana, Intsia bijuga, Myristica hypargyraea, Planchonella garberi and Syzygium samoense.

Montane Rain Forest

Above 500 m elevation conditions become wetter (5 000 mm rainfall at 600 m elevation), the drier lowland rain forest gives way to a montane forest dominated by Dysoxylum huntii. Two other species of Dysoxylum (D. samoensis, D. maota), common in the lowland forests, thin out at these elevations. Associated canopy species include Astronidium spp., Bischofia javanica, Fagraea berteroana, Hernandia moerenhoutiana, Reynoldsia spp., Spiraeanthemum samoense, Syzygium spp., Trichospermum richii and Weinmannia spp.

Open broadleaved forests
Cloud Forest

This forest occurs at the highest elevations on Ta‘u and Olosega. These habitats are typified by constant cloud cover, dripping wet conditions, and a clothing of epiphytes on tree trunks and branches. A low-statured, gnarled forest on Ta‘u is dominated by two species of tree fern (Cyathea), Syzygium samoense and Weinmannia affinis. Common woody species include Ascarina diffusa, Astronidium pickeringii, Dysoxylum huntii and Streblus anthropophagorum. This forest has been damaged by recent hurricanes (1987 and 1990), and sections are dominated by a scrubland of the woody vine Freycinetia storckii, along with terrestrial ferns (Blechnum vulcanicum, Dicksonia brackenridgei), Cyathea spp. tree ferns, and shrubs of Cyrtandra spp. Other terms such as Moss or Dwarf forests are associated with this region.

Other wooded land

Shrubs
Littoral Scrub

Typically dominated by Scaevola taccada and/or Wollastonia biflora on both sandy and rocky substrates, this vegetation type grows between the herbaceous strand zone and littoral forest or Pandanus scrub. Other characteristic species include Clerodendrum inerme, Colubrina asiatica, Ficus scabra and Premna serratifolia.

Montane Scrub

Occurring only on the summit mountain area of Tutuila and Ta’u is restricted to summit trachyte plugs, most notably Matafao, Rainmaker and Ta’u mountain. Fertility is low on the hard clay soil of these plugs and the rooting depth is shallow, causing Dwarf Forests. Many of the species growing on these traychyte plugs are only found on these inhospitable areas. The type is dominated by scrubby understory species with scattered trees of low stature. Consisting of a mix of ferns, shrubs, and climbers with scattered trees that include Metrosideros collina, Pandanus reineckei, Rapanea myricifolia and Spiraeanthemum samoense. The dominant ferns are Davallia epiphylla, Dicranopteris linearis, Dipteris conjugata and Nephrolepis biserrata. The woody vines of Freycinetia spp. are also common.

Forest fallow
Secondary Scrub

This community develops on recently abandoned lands, which are quickly inhabited by fast-growing species that are effectively dispersed and often heliophytic. Many of the latter disappear as scrub is eventually replaced by secondary forest that shades out the understory plants. Characteristic trees include Hibiscus tiliaceus, Macaranga harveyana, Omalanthus nutans, Pipturus argenteus and Trema cannabina.

Secondary Forest

This high forest is dominated by shade-intolerant trees that replace the secondary scrub. The dominant overstory tree species are Alphitonia zizyphoides, Elattostachys falcata and Rhus taitensis; however, these species are rare in the understory, indicating that they will eventually be replaced by other secondary and primary forest species. Other common secondary forest species include Adenanthera pavonina, Bischofia javanica, Cananga odorata, Dysoxylum spp., Hibiscus tiliaceus, Kleinhovia hospita, Macaranga stipulosa and Neonauclea forsteri.

Most of Swains Island is covered by a woodland of coconut palms (Cocos nucifera) abandoned once copra exports were discontinued. Patches of littoral forest are scattered throughout, but most of the understory consists of an impenetrable thicket of young coconut palms and the birdsnest fern, Asplenium nidus s.l.

References

Cole, T. G., C. D. Whitesell, W. A. Whistler, N. McKay and A. H. Ambacher 1988. Vegetation survey and forest inventory, American Samoa. USDA Forest Service, Pac. Southwest Forest and Range Exp. Sta. Resource Bull. PSW-25, Berkeley, CA. 14 pp.

Mueller-Dombois, D. and F. R. Fosberg 1998. Vegetation of the tropical Pacific islands. Springer-Verlag, New York. 733 pp.

Whistler, W. A. 1980. The vegetation of Eastern Samoa. Allertonia 2(2): 1–190.

Whistler, W. A. 1983. The flora and vegetation of Swains Island. Atoll Res. Bull. 262: 1–25.

Whistler, W. A. 1992. Vegetation of Samoa and Tonga. Pac. Sci. 46(2): 159–178.

Information on forest assessments

Area of forest cover

Table 1 - Bibliographic references

Country

American Samoa

Title

American Samoa Forest Resources Fact Sheet

Author

Sheri S. Mann & O. Colin Steele

Year

1999

Source

Http://mail.admin.gov.gu/agri/PIC/amrsamoa_rfs.html

Date of consult.

24/6/00

Location

(of publication)

In FRA Pacific Islands box

Description of source

(including type of source, overall quality assessment and utility for FRA 2000)

Web page with gross area of forest land, acres of non-industrial private forest land, are under stewardship plans and other info. Demographic information included.

Area of Forest Land given as 43,500 acres, converts to 17,603 ha.

Information content (check one or more topics as appropriate)

Natural Forest

X

 

Protected areas

 

Plantations

   

Biodiversity

 

Other wooded land

   

Forest ownership

Some

Forest area change

   

Wood supply potential

 

Total volume

   

Non-wood forest products

 

Total biomass

   

Trees outside forest

 

Commercial volume

   

Forest fires

 

Name of reviewer: Jim Space

Country

American Samoa

Title

Vegetation Survey and Forest Inventory, American Samoa

Author

Cole et al

Year

1988

Source

USDA Forest Service Resource Bulletin PSW-25

Date of consult.

24/6/00

Location

(of publication)

In FRA Pacific Islands box

Description of source

(including type of source, overall quality assessment and utility for FRA 2000)

Good quality but information is out of date.

Information content (check one or more topics as appropriate)

Natural Forest

X

 

Protected areas

 

Plantations

X

 

Biodiversity

 

Other wooded land

X

 

Forest ownership

 

Forest area change

   

Wood supply potential

 

Total volume

X

 

Non-wood forest products

 

Total biomass

   

Trees outside forest

 

Commercial volume

X

 

Forest fires

 

Name of reviewer: Orlo Colin Steele, Jim Space

Country

American Samoa

Title

Technical Report 87 Botanical Inventory of the Proposed Tutuila and Ofu Units of the National Park of American Samoa

Author

Dr. Art Whistler

Year

1994

Source

National Park Service

Date of consult.

05/09/00

Location

(of publication)

American Samoa Forestry Office

Description of source

(including type of source, overall quality assessment and utility for FRA 2000)

Good National Park forest description and break down of present vegetation, including an annotated plant list.

Information content (check one or more topics as appropriate)

Natural Forest

X

 

Protected areas

XX

Plantations

   

Biodiversity

X

Other wooded land

X

 

Forest ownership

Some

Forest area change

Some

 

Wood supply potential

 

Total volume

   

Non-wood forest products

 

Total biomass

   

Trees outside forest

 

Commercial volume

   

Forest fires

 

Name of reviewer: Sheri S. Mann

Country

American Samoa

Title

Technical Report 83 Botanical Inventory of the Proposed Ta’u Unit of the National Park of American Samoa

Author

Dr. Art Whistler

Year

1992

Source

National Park Service

Date of consult.

05/09/00

Location

(of publication)

American Samoa Forestry Office

Description of source

(including type of source, overall quality assessment and utility for FRA 2000)

Good Ta’u National Park forest and vegetation descriptions. Annotated plant list.

Information content (check one or more topics as appropriate)

Natural Forest

X

 

Protected areas

XX

Plantations

   

Biodiversity

 

Other wooded land

X

 

Forest ownership

Some

Forest area change

   

Wood supply potential

 

Total volume

   

Non-wood forest products

 

Total biomass

   

Trees outside forest

 

Commercial volume

   

Forest fires

 

Name of reviewer: Sheri S. Mann

Country

American Samoa

Title

Towards a Territorial Conservation Strategy and Establishment of Conservation Area System for American Samoa. A Report to the Natural Resources Commission.

Author

Volk, R.D. et al.

Year

1992

Source

Natural Resources Commission

Date of consult.

05/09/00

Location

(of publication)

American Samoa Forestry Office

Description of source

(including type of source, overall quality assessment and utility for FRA 2000)

Very informative. Incorporates background conservation information on biodiversity, forest facts, trends, regional schematic maps of Tutuila and Manu’a, tables, inventories of candidate conservation areas, biological resources and cultural resources and more.

Information content (check one or more topics as appropriate)

Natural Forest

X

 

Protected areas

X

Plantations

X

 

Biodiversity

X

Other wooded land

X

 

Forest ownership

Some

Forest area change

X

 

Wood supply potential

 

Total volume

   

Non-wood forest products

 

Total biomass

   

Trees outside forest

X

Commercial volume

   

Forest fires

 

Name of reviewer: Sheri S. Mann

Table 2 - Description of forest inventories/surveys

Country

American Samoa

Reference year

1988

Title of inventory

Vegetation Survey and Forest Inventory, American Samoa

Type of inventory

Mapped forest with field plots

Field / aerial photos / satellite images / ...

Brief summary of methodologies used

Vegetation types were delineated on 1:10,000 aerial photos taken in 1984 and transferred to maps. Limited ground truthing due to steep slopes. Variable plot sampling in 34 (2.5 ha) plots with 5 sampling points each. Species, DBH and height collected.

Reporting level

National

Country coverage

Complete

 

National / sub-national

 

Complete / partial

Map output

Yes

Scale of the map

1:24,000

 

Yes / no (also indicate format: analogue / digital)

   

Vegetation types included

yes/no

 

Additional information included

yes/no

         

Natural forests

yes

 

Area by forest formation

Yes

Plantations

yes

 

Volume

Yes

All forests

yes

 

Biomass

 

Other wooded land

yes

 

Forest naturalness

Yes

     

Forest biodiversity

 
     

Forest ownership

 
     

Wood supply potential

 

Remarks

 

Reliability class

2

 

1=high 2=medium 3=low

Country

American Samoa

Reference year

1992

Title of inventory

Towards a Territorial Conservation Strategy and the Establishment of a Conservation Areas System for American Samoa

Type of inventory

Mapped forest with field plots

Field / aerial photos / satellite images / ...

Brief summary of methodologies used

Vegetation types were delineated on 1:10,000 aerial photos taken in 1984 and transferred to maps. Limited ground truthing due to steep slopes. Variable plot sampling in 34 (2.5 ha) plots with 5 sampling points each. Species, DBH and height collected.

Reporting level

National

Country coverage

Complete

 

National / sub-national

 

Complete / partial

Map output

Yes

Scale of the map

1:24,000

 

Yes / no (also indicate format: analogue / digital)

   

Vegetation types included

yes/no

 

Additional information included

yes/no

         

Natural forests

yes

 

Area by forest formation

Yes

Plantations

yes

 

Volume

Yes

All forests

yes

 

Biomass

 

Other wooded land

yes

 

Forest naturalness

Yes

     

Forest biodiversity

 
     

Forest ownership

 
     

Wood supply potential

 

Remarks

 

Reliability class

2

 

1=high 2=medium 3=low

Table 3 - Area of woody vegetation according to national classification

Reference year: 1985 Geographic Unit: All main islands of American Samoa

Forest and other woody vegetation types

(country classification)

Area in Acres

(ha) Actual #’s

1.Closed forest – Upland forest

22,763 (9.212)

2. Closed forest – Coastal forest

2,085 (844)

3. Closed forest – Mangrove forest

129 (52)

4. Closed forest – Dwarf forest

667 (270)

Subtotal

28,686 (11,609)

5. Closed forest – Moss (cloud) forest

3,042 (1,231)

6. Scrub – Secondary vegetation

608 (246)

7. Forest fallow – Agroforest

136 (55)

8. Forest fallow – Agroforest with coconuts

12,950 (5,241)

9. Forest fallow – Agroforest with bananas

7 (3)

Subtotal

15,510 (6,277)

Subtotal of country classes corresponding with FRA 2000 forest and other wooded land

44,196 (17,843)

Subtotal other land

2.276**

Total land area

46,472 (18,847)

Definitions: See PSW-25

**Includes 978 ha of coconut plantations and 26 ha of inland fresh and saline water.

Comments:

Table 4 - Comparability between country classification and FRA 2000 classification

Reference year: 1985

Geographic Unit: Main islands, American Samoa

Title of the inventory/survey: Vegetation Survey and Forest Inventory of American Samoa, PSW-25

Forest and other woody vegetation types

(country classification)

Corresponding FRA 2000 classes

Upland forest

Coastal forest

Mangrove forest

Dwarf forest

Moss (cloud) forest

Closed Forest

Disturbed Forest

Open Forest

Dwarf Forest

Moss (cloud) forest

Shrub

Secondary vegetation

Agroforests with other trees (hardwoods, medicinal & other)

Agroforests with coconuts

Agroforests with bananas

Forest fallow system

Note: Open and closed forests make up “natural forest”; shrub and forest fallow make up “other wooded land”

Comments:

Change in forest cover

No information

Plantations

Gross estimated area 12 ha Annual planting 1 ha

Species group

Gross estimated area

Purpose (%)

 

Ownership (%)

 
 

ha

%

   

Public

Private

Others

Acacia spp.

   

Industrial

     

 

0.9

7.0

Non-Industrial

100

   

100

Casuarina spp.

   

Industrial

     

 

0.5

4.0

Non-Industrial

100

   

100

Eucalyptus spp.

   

Industrial

     

 

1.7

14.0

Non-Industrial

100

   

100

Mahogany

   

Industrial

     

 

1.2

10.0

Non-Industrial

100

   

100

Terminalia spp.

   

Industrial

     

 

0.5

4.0

Non-Industrial

100

   

100

Other Broadleaved spp.

   

Industrial

     

 

7.4

61.0

Non-Industrial

100

   

100

Casuarina spp.: C. equisetifolia

Terminalia spp.: T. richii

Mahogany: Swietenia macrophylla

Other Broadleaved spp.: Adenanthera pavonina, Alphitonia zyzyphoides, Calophyllum neo-ebudicum, Diospyros samoensis, Flueggea flexuosa, Insita bijuga, Pometia pinnata, Planchonella spp., Syzugium inophylloides, etc.

Explanatory note on 2000 estimates

Oliver (1999) gives a table of plantation area by species and age-classes. And the total plantation area at the end of 1998 and the established area during that year. Annual planting was 3.2 ha, which exceeded the annual goal of 1 ha, so in this estimate, annual planting is supposed to be 1 ha. Applying this to the total of the year 1998 as a base, the total plantation area of the year 2000 is estimated to be about 12 ha.

Regarding ownership and purpose, Oliver (1999) says that most plantations are owned by customary ownership, but it is not clear if this is private or public. Plantations are aimed to produce timber, to protect from soil erosion and to conduct research about forestry matter. Data about purpose is not available.

 

References

Oliver, W. 1999. An Update of Plantation Forestry in the South Pacific. RAS/97/330 Working Paper No.7, Pacific Islands Forests & Trees Support Programme

Volume and biomass

Table 6 - Volume data (of natural forests)

Reference year: 1985

Part 1 : Forest Inventory Description

Name of the Inventory: Vegetation Survey and Forest Inventory of American Samoa (PSW-25)

National Forest Inventory (Yes or No): Yes

Geographic location: Main islands of American Samoa (Tutuila, Aunu’u, Olosega, Ofu, Ta’u, Nu’utele)

Total inventoried area (000 ha): 176.5

Sketch map attached (Yes or No): Yes for Tutuila, Ofu, Olosega and Ta’u. Others no.

Part 2: Inventory methodology

Stratification criteria: Forest lands only: including upland, coastal, mangrove, dwarf and moss forests. However, volume estimates are for timberland only or forests not on steep slopes, scrub or moss forests.

Sampling design: A 1.5 km square grid was superimposed on vegetation maps. Intersections with forest lands were chosen as plots (2.5 ha each, n = 20). In each plot 5 points were taken using variable plot sampling.

Sampling intensity (%): 0.74% (50 ha out of 6,728 ha)

Species coverage: All species within the timberland category

Minimum diameter: >12.5 cm. However, smaller trees were measured within 2.36 m of point centre.

Type of volume measured: sawlog, upper stem, craftwood bolts, branches; over bark

(including or excluding branches, underbark or overbark, etc.)

Part 3: Inventory results (by reporting unit)

Reporting Unit name: All timberland on the main islands of American Samoa

Area (ha): 6,728 ha

Average volume per hectare (m3/ha): 34.96

Sampling error for average volume per hectare at 95% probability (%): Plus/minus 23% at the 67% probability level.

Stand and stock tables attached (Yes or No): No

Comments:

Table 6A - Volume of woody vegetation according to national classification

Reference year: 1985 Geographic Unit: American Samoa

Forest and other woody vegetation types

(country classification)

Volume

(1 000 m3)

Biomass

(1 000 m3)

1.Timberland* (6,728 ha)

235.2

 

Subtotal of country classes corresponding with FRA 2000 forest and other wooded land

   

Definitions:*Excludes nonforest lands, secondary vegetation, agroforest and areas incapable of growing trees over 5 inches.

Comments:

Change in volume and biomass

No information.

Forest health and protection

Fire situation in American Samoa

There have not been significant forest fires during this time. However, hurricanes or cyclones damaged the forests of American Samoa in 1987, 1990 and 1991.

Date: 10/31/99 confirmed 05/09/00

Source of information: Personal observations & communications

Country correspondent: Sheri S. Mann & O. Colin Steele ASCC/AHNR-Forestry Division

E-mail address of correspondent: _ssuemann@yahoo.com & orlo@samoatelco.com

Community involvement in fire management activities

There is a Fire Protection division that is facilitated through American Samoan Government Department of Public Works. USDA FS Fire Protection Division provides annual funds for public awareness, trucks, training programs, etc. Wildfires are very rare however. In 1998 there was a drought that created fire hazard conditions. There was no fire though. Further American Samoan fire information can be provided by Dennis Orbus dorbus@fs.fed.us.

Insects and disease-

There is a Forest Health Program within the Forestry Division. The primary role of this program is to document insect and disease problems on the islands. A Forest Health 5 yr plan of work is being created in order to broaden the scope of this program. We hope to begin the USDA FS Forest Health Monitoring and/or Forest Inventory Programs in 2002. In June 2000, AS Forestry hosted a Forest Health Workshop to assess the probability of a future Forest Health Inventory and Monitoring Program.

There are a number of insect and/or disease problems. A significant pest is the Rhinoceros Beetle Oryctes rhinoceros, Scarabaeidae. Damage estimates are being collected and should be available in 2001. A biological control program involving the release of two pathogens 1) a fungus Metarhizium anisopliae and 2) a baculovirus Rhabdionvirus oryctes are being implemented. Results will be available in Jan. 2002. Introduced insects and diseases need to be controlled i.e., quarantine protocols implemented/improved, and the native forest, which appears to be relatively undisturbed from exotic insects, needs to be monitored closely.

Invasive species

For information on invasive plant species, see http://www.hear.org/pier/asreport.htm.

Weather (hurricane, tsunami, etc.)

Significant damage to forests from hurricanes in 1987, 1990 and 1991. Historically, hurricanes happen once or twice per decade.

Mangrove Area

Ha

Year

Source

Remarks

129

1985

Cole, T. G., C. D. Whitesell, W. A. Whistler, N. McKay and A. H. Ambacher (1988). Vegetation survey and forest inventory, American Samoa. USDA Forest Service, Pac. Southwest Forest and Range Exp. Sta. Resource Bull. PSW-25, Berkeley, CA. 14 pp.

121 ha on Tutuila and 8 ha on Aunu’u.

Rapid land conversion due to population and development pressures on Tutuila are reducing these numbers.

Description

Mangrove forests dominated by stands of Bruguiera gymnorrhiza typically occur in protected coastal bays and estuaries where fresh water enters the ocean. These habitats are inundated by saline or brackish water at high tide and are often flooded by fresh water. The closed canopy allows only Bruguiera seedlings in the understory, but the swamp fern Acrostichum aureum and trees of the species Rhizophora mangle occupy openings.

Often fronting mangrove forest is a mangrove scrub community dominated by small to medium-sized trees of Rhizophora mangle. Where Rhizophora competes with the larger Bruguiera gymnorrhiza, the former is shaded out. Mangrove scrub is found, particularly, on the south-central coast of Tutuila.

References

Cole, T. G., C. D. Whitesell, W. A. Whistler, N. McKay and A. H. Ambacher 1988. Vegetation survey and forest inventory, American Samoa. USDA Forest Service, Pac. Southwest Forest and Range Exp. Sta. Resource Bull. PSW-25, Berkeley, CA. 14 pp.

Mueller-Dombois, D. and F. R. Fosberg 1998. Vegetation of the tropical Pacific islands. Springer-Verlag, New York. 733 pp.

Whistler, W. A. 1980. The vegetation of Eastern Samoa. Allertonia 2(2): 1–190.

Whistler, W. A. 1983. The flora and vegetation of Swains Island. Atoll Res. Bull. 262: 1–25.

Whistler, W. A. 1992. Vegetation of Samoa and Tonga. Pac. Sci. 46(2): 159–178.

Forest management

Forest legislation and policy

No information.

Institutions and organisations

No information.

Status and trends in forest management

Forest management plans

Table 18 - Area of forest under management

Reference year: 1999

Forest type (using country classification)

Total area

(000 ha)

Area under management1

(000 ha)

Production

Conservation

Other purpose

(please specify)

Total

1.National Park*

3.310

 

3.310

 

3.310

2.Non-industrial private forest land

7.972

   

0.045**

8.017

All forest types (Total Forest)

11.282

 

3.310

0.045

11.327

1. Area under management is defined here as the forest that is managed for various purposes (conservation, production, other) in accordance with a formal, nationally approved, management plan over a sufficiently long period (five years or more)

Comments: *Total land area of the National Park of American Samoa (1120 ha on Tutuila and 2190 ha on Ta’u). A breakdown by forest types is not available.

**Area currently under stewardship plans per Forest Resources Fact Sheet, 1999.

References:

Volk, R. D. et al. 1992. Towards a Territorial Conservation Strategy and Establishment of Conservation Area System for American Samoa. A Report to the Natural Resources Commission.

Special programmes and incentives to promote sustainable forest management

Forest Stewardship Program – provides assistance to landowners to help them meet their objectives while providing benefits such as clean air, clean water, soil conservation, and wildlife habitat. The FSP helps State Forestry agencies to provide service forestry support for the Stewardship program, and helps fund the operation of State/Territory Stewardship Committees.

Key issues and concerns

Expanding public awareness about sustainable forest management is an important issue. With the population on Tutuila rapidly increasing, there is limited land for housing and agriculture. Forests are being cut on slopes in excess of 60%. Implementing and/or improving quarantine protocols on Tutuila and in Manu’a are very important. Save the existing lowland rain forests is an urgent issue, as the few remaining owners of such land want to sell to developers.

Future outlook for the forestry sector

The forestry sector will play an increasingly more important role in future natural resource planning as local population places more pressure on forest resources.

Land ownership

Exact forest land ownership figures are not available at this time.

Protected areas

Area Name

Subclass

Type of area

IUCN Cat.

Size (ha)

National Park of American Samoa

NATIONAL

National Park

II

3725

Fagatele Bay

NATIONAL

National Marine Sanctuary

IV

64

Rose Atoll

NATIONAL

National Wildlife Refuge

Ia

653

Star Mound

National

Historical Land Mark

 

.05

         

Forest products production, trade and consumption

Contribution of the forestry sector to the country’s economy

Products

No information.

Trade (1998)

   

Import

Export

Production

Consumption

 

Units

Quantity

$US
(x1000)

Quantity

$US
(x1000)

Quantity

Quantity

Sawnwood

Cum

642

172

0

0

0

642

 

Sawnwood (C)

Cum

639

169

0

0

0

639

Sawnwood (NC)

Cum

3

3

0

0

0

3

Wood-Based Panels

Cum

76

32

0

0

0

76

Veneer Sheets

Cum

14

4

0

0

0

14

Plywood

Cum

52

27

0

0

0

52

Particle Board

Cum

0

0

0

0

0

0

Fibreboard

Cum

10

1

0

0

0

10

Paper+Paperboard

Mt

144

97

0

0

0

144

Newsprint

Mt

122

59

0

0

0

122

Printing+Writing Paper

Mt

14

32

0

0

0

14

Other Paper+Paperboard

Mt

8

6

0

0

0

8

Roundwood

Cum

15

1

0

0

0

15

Industrial Roundwood

Cum

15

1

0

0

0

15

Fuelwood and wood energy

No information.

Non-wood forest products

Much of the information for the non-wood forest products was gathered from person-to-person interviews and/or surveys done from January 2000 to the present.

.

QUANTITATIVE DATA ON NWFP

Product

Resource

Economic value

 

Category

Impor-tance

Trade name

Generic term

Species

Part used

Habitat

Source

Desti-nation

Quantity, value

Remarks

References

 

1, 2, 3

     

f,p,o

W, C

N, I

     

Plants and plant products

Food

3

Lopa

Adenarthera pavonina

 

f,p

W,C

 

$125/yr

   

Fodder

                   

Medicines

2

Nono/Noni

Morinda citrifolia

entire

f,p,o

W,C

       

Perfumes, cosmetics

2

2

Moso’oi

Laga’ali

Canaga odorata

Aglaia samoensis

Fl,oi

Fl,oi

F,p

f

W,c

c

       

Dying, Tanning

2

1

O’a

Lama

Bischofia javanica

Aleuritas molucca

ba, fl

fr

           

Utensils, handicrafts, construction materials

3

2

2

Ifilele

Lau fao

Lau fala

Intsia bijuga

Iteliconis laufao

Pandanus tectorius

st, ba, fi

st

le

F,p

F

F,p

W,c

W

W,c

 

$416,000/yr

$10,000/yr

Crafts, tools, canoes

Coconut straining fiber

 

Ornamentals

1

2

2

Moso’oi

Laga’ali

Lau maile

Canaga odorata

Aglaia samoensis

Alyxia braeteolosa

pl

     

$78,000/yr

$180,000/yr

$78,000/yr

   

Exudates

                   

OTHERS – medicines

                   

Product

Resource

Economic value

 

Category

Impor-tance

Trade name

Generic term

Species

Part used

Habitat

Source

Desti-nation

Quantity, value

Remarks

References

 

1, 2, 3

     

F, P, O

W, C

N, I

     

Animals and animal products

Living animals

     

an

           

Honey, beeswax

     

ho, bw

           

Bushmeat

 

Pigeons

Bats

Ducula pacifica

Pteropus spp.

An

F

F,p

         

Other edible animal products

 

Aufatu

Cerambicid ??

An

F,p

w

       

Hides, skins

                   

Medicines

2

2

Ma’anunu

Ti

Tarenna sambucina

Cordyline fruiticosa

Ba

Le

     

$13,000yr

Body Pain

Headache, fever

 

Colorants

                   

Other non-edible animal products

                   

Importance: 1- high importance on the national level; 2 – high importance on the local/regional level; 3 – low importance

Part used: an – entire animal; ba – bark; bw – beeswax; le – leaves; nu – nuts; fi – fibres; fl – flowers; fr – fruits; gu – gums; ho – honey;

Habitat: F - natural forest or other wooded lands; P - plantation; O – Others: Trees outside forests (e.g. agroforestry, homegardens)

Source: W - wild, C - cultivated

Destination: N - national; I – international

Forest services

Wildlife habitat and biodiversity

Fagatele Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Appendix

Population and trends

Population- 62,000 (1999 estimate)

Growth rate- 3.8%

Density- 1800 people per square kilometer.


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