CTAHR NEWS

The Pigs and the Dirt

CTAHR researchers track soil community response to feral pig management

  • 5 November 2019
  • Author: Frederika Bain
  • Number of views: 923
  • 0 Comments
The Pigs and the Dirt

Feral pigs are a conundrum: nonnative and invasive throughout much of the world, they negatively impact ecosystems. Yet they are culturally important, and they serve as wild game for subsistence and recreational hunting. A common management approach for feral pigs in Hawai‘i is to fence areas of high conservation value, remove the resident animals, and keep them out while allowing them to roam the surrounding forest.

The impact of pigs’ removal on the structure and function of Hawai‘i’s native-dominated wet forests is a topic of interest to CTAHR affiliates Nathaniel Wehr (NREM), Creighton Litton (NREM), Christian Giardina (USFS, NREM), Steven Hess (USGS, NREM), Noa Lincoln (TPSS), and Nhu Nguyen (TPSS). They used a 25-year chronosequence of feral pig removal in Volcanoes National Park and Pu‘u Maka‘ala Natural Area Reserve to address the question, “How does feral pig removal affect soil bacterial and macroinvertebrate communities?” The answer is key to managing these forests, given the critical roles that soil microfauna and mesofauna have on forest ecosystems. 

The joint CTAHR effort has resulted in two publications: soil bacterial communities in Nature Scientific Reports and soil macroinvertebrates in Biological Invasions

The first paperreports that bacterial community diversity increased linearly over time following the removal of feral pigs, while functional diversity remained unchanged. This indicates feral pig removal increases soil bacterial redundancy, which likely promotes ecological resiliency of the soil. 

In contrast, the second paper shows that soil macroinvertebrate communities did not change following feral pig removal. However, earthworms and ground beetles were positively associated with sites rooted by feral pigs. Two possible hypotheses warrant investigation: the Worm-Farming Hypothesis suggests that changes to the soil from pig rooting, such as increased mixing of soil organic matter and reduced bulk density, will improve earthworm habitat; the Truffle-Worm Hypothesis suggests feral pigs are capable of intentionally seeking out habitats with higher availability of below-ground food resources. 

The studies highlight changes in soil communities associated with feral pig removal and help inform an increasingly common management scenario in Hawai‘i and beyond that attempts to balance the desire to eradicate feral pigs with the desire to maintain them for culture and recreation.

Print
Tags:

Giant Candy Canes

“Kō: Ethnobotanical Guide to Hawaiian Sugarcane Cultivars” gives a fascinating history

Ready, Set, Students

No in-class? No problem. ASAO is keeping CTAHR students in the loop

Helping 500,000+

The 2020 AUW Campaign targets Hawaiʻi residents who need assistance

A.I. in Ag

New grant opportunity is due October 5

Beyond Beginners

GoFarm Hawaiʻi consults on business plans, grant writing, and a whole lot more.

Vegan Leather

FDM students hope to establish sustainable manufacturing in Hawaiʻi

One Busy Man

Extension agent is helping livestock producers, near and far

$1.5M for Ag Ed

Grant designed to expand education for Native Hawaiians

Primed for Expansion

NIFA awards almost $1M to CTAHR’s Center for Tropical and Subtropical Aquaculture

Textbook Nutrition

Food Science and Human Nutrition’s latest edition adds an interactive layer

Welcome, Rock

Dr. Zhi-Yan Du joins MBBE

Men’s Wear

FDM professor is featured in a new book on masculine clothing

A Virtual Garden

The American Society for Horticultural Science’s online conference is a hit

RU AgCurious?

GoFarm Hawaiʻi Windward kicks off another farmer training

Giant Smiles

4-H contest gets keiki excited about agriculture

Safe You, Safe Campus

IT Services’ new app is mandatory for those coming to UH

Earth Mother

UH Center for Hawaiian Studies’ webinar is tonight at 7:00 p.m.

Not-Fun Spoofing

Beware of attackers impersonating CTAHR IT staff

Mission: Possible

Dean Comerford hosts a virtual Town Hall for Alumni and Friends

Conserving Kāhuli

Can structured decision-making save the Hawaiian Tree Snail?

Renaissance Agent

Molokaʻi Extension welcomes Marshall Joy

Positioned for Growth

Thesis explores a clonal rootstock program for cacao in Hawaiʻi

Bad Seed

USDA investigates packages of unsolicited seeds from China

Fire and Rain

SOEST and CTAHR document the first hurricane to cause both flooding and multiple fires.

Bringing UH to Cambodia

FCS joins a $1 million project to study socioeconomic and environmental shifts.

Sweet!

Learn about Native Hawaiian sweet potato varieties

Vegetable Garden Isle

Extension agents feed the hungry with the fruits of their research

Soil Rx

Extension offers conference on soil health

Mama Cows

Agent offers webinar on choosing heifers for cow/calf producers

Fashion Fights COVID

FDM alumna’s fashion-forward scrubs benefit Hawaiʻi Food Bank

12345678910Last