n 2012, Island Conservation, The Nature Conservancy, and US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) declared Palmyra free of invasive rats. In the following years, Island Conservation Biologist Coral Wolf and a team of scientists documented a 5000% increase in native trees and the recovery of local seabird populations. Researchers also observed two land crab species for the first time on the atoll’s islets after rat removal.
Along with native plants, invasive coconut palms are also increasing. Growing in massive monocultures, the palms out-compete native plants and provide poor habitat for wildlife including seabirds, crabs, and even insects.
Now, project partners are working together on the next phase of Palmyra restoration to revive the forest by removing invasive coconut palms and out-planting native vegetation. Khalsa and partners started removing the coconut palms in mid-2019, which will allow the rainforest and surrounding coral reefs to thrive and provide resilient habitat for native and threatened wildlife.