The state has completed its final environmental assessment of the release of an insect in Hawaii’s forests to control the invasive strawberry guava.
The Hawaii Department of Agriculture said Tuesday the U.S. Forest Service has found a small scale insect native to Brazil to be the best natural way to control the growth of the plant.
The department says the insect will not harm other native plant species.
Officials plan to conduct an initial release at one site with the Forest Service monitoring the results.
Strawberry guava has no natural predators in Hawaii and has spread rapidly since it was introduced as a garden plant in 1825. Officials have said it is pushing out native plants and threatening the survival of native forests.