Limestone Forests of Guam (Part I)

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We spent the afternoon in the Guam National Wildlife Refuge in the far northern tip of the island. It is a  385-acre strip of forest that abuts Anderson Air Force base. The park is trying to preserve and reintroduce some bird and plant species lost due to predation from the brown tree snake, beetle and other invasive species. They have some nature trails which we started exploring, but need to go back to see them fully. Above is the Blue-banded King Crow Butterfly (Euploea eunice). There were about ten of them fluttering about this one plant I could not identify.

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Oliver gives perspective to a breadfruit tree leaf. 

I didn’t realize how large the leaves of the famous breadfruit tree were. As you can see, they are massive. The breadfruit is originally from the south Pacific and planted all over the tropics today. It is one of the most used plants in the world and has sustained humans on the islands for thousands of years. One tree can produce up to 200 huge fruits per year. Besides eating the fruit, the Chamorros, the native people of Guam, used the wood to build their outrigger canoes, and the leaves to wrap food in. The trees also provide habitat for many animals in the forest. They are hardy trees, growing on the sandy and salty coral atolls, resisting extreme sun and heat and the occasional typhoon. The fruit when cooked has the consistency of hot bread. I don’t think I’ve ever tried it.

Definitely have to go back to spend the entire day. I especially want to find some of the rare birds and trees of the refuge.

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