An assessment of the current status of native upland habitats and associated endangered species on the island of Hawaii

Author: Jacobi, James D.
Scott, J. Michael
Title: An assessment of the current status of native upland habitats and associated endangered species on the island of Hawaii
Periodical: Hawaii's terrestrial ecosystems: preservation and management
Year: 1985
Pages: p. 3-22
Subject: Acacia koa
Endangered species
Trees Hawaii Island
Summary: Considerable portions of the native Hawaiian biota have been destroyed or degraded since man's colonization of these islands beginning approximately 1,500 years ago. The loss of native species has resulted from 2 types of actions: 1) direct habitat destruction (e.g. for agriculture, habitation, etc.), and 2) displacement or replacement of native components by introduced species of plants and animals. The results of these changes include total or partial destruction of the native communities and changes in abundance and/or distribution of individual taxa. Recent field surveys and summaries of existing data have been used to evaluate the current distribution and status of numerous endangered species of plants and animals and their habitats. Of the 17 major vegetation types mapped for the island of Hawaii, 11 were classified as units with greatly reduced or no area totally dominated by native species, including 6 units with large numbers of endangered bird and plant species. In this evaluation the upper-elevation mesic koa-fohifa (Acacia koa-Metrosideros polymorpha) forest, which provides habitat for at least 6 endangered bird and 11 endangered plant species, is particularly threatened. Less than 15% of the original area occupied by this vegetation type now contains relatively intact mesic koa-ohia forest. More effort needs to be focused upon securing and managing the remaining relatively intact or partially disturbed portions of communities such as the mesic koa-ohia forest which provide essential habitat for significant populations of endangered species. We feel that, ultimately, endangered species recovery efforts will be enhanced by dealing with research and management at the community level, rather than pursuing intensive programs focused on individual species.
URL: http://www.hear.org/books/hte1985/pdfs/hte1985jacobiscott.pdf
Database: Monographs

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