Soil erosion shows dramatically in this ca. 1980 photo. The reddish saprolite (subsoil) is highly acidic (pH as high as 3.6) and aluminum-toxic to plants. It continues to erode, adding silt to reefs and degrading the island's fishery. There are many debates about how to correct this problem. The only thing that has worked on any appreciable scale is the planting of introduced nitrogen-fixing trees: Acacia auriculiformis and A. mangium. After crown closure, native species are sometimes found in the understory of the Acacia.
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