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Officials: Invasive trees caused more storm damage

August 19, 2014 - 4:01pm

HILO — State and federal environmental officials in Hawaii say that an invasive tree popular on the Big Island caused more damage after Tropical Storm Iselle because it was too weak and brittle.

Hawaii News Now reported Tuesday that experts say albizia trees grow quickly but splinter and crack quickly in bad weather.

Research ecologist Flint Hughes of the U.S. Forest Service says the Big Island would be dealing with a fraction of the destruction if a native tree species was more dominant in areas of Puna, where the storm hit hardest.

Trees falling from the storm that hit this month knocked out power and blocked roads.

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