Vince Fabian, biologist with the Center for Island Sustainability was one of the many people who helped secure the native plants in the nursery for typhoon Mawar. CIS biologists along with the G3CC team placed all 2,000 plants inside house 32, and inside a 40 foot container. “It took all of us two days to move all the plants, and without the help of the G3CC it would have taken much longer,” said Fabian.
Shade cloths were removed from the canopies and tables turned over to protect them from damaging winds. Luckily, the metal poles that hold the insect barriers and shade cloth withstood the onslaught of the wind and rain.
It was stressful for the plants to be inside for days without sun and water and the good news is only the smallest of seedlings and seeds that had not germinated were lost due to lack of moisture.
After the storm, the plants were placed outside again as soon as possible without the benefit of shade clothe, which resulted in some minor of damage from the sun and mealy bugs attacking some plants.
Plants that weathered the storm in areas around the island began to develop new leaves, flowers, and fruits as a response to the stress. This will give biologists a chance to gather seeds post-typhoon.
Another bright spot after the storm was what biologists found during their post-typhoon surveys. Mawar’s winds toppled trees and twisted off branches that held native orchids. CIS biologists were able to collect the orchids including an endangered endemic, Bulbophyllum guamense or siboyas hålom tåno in CHamoru, and plant them in their nursery.
Typhoon Mawar was a very damaging storm, but even through the destruction there were some bright spots. Biologists from CIS take every opportunity to propagate and protect the island’s native plants.