Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center
Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative
Ecosystems in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands span an exceptionally wide range of habitats ranging from hot coastal dunes to tropical wet forest to dry forest to cold alpine communities. As climate changes rapidly during the next century, changes in temperature, precipitation, and sea level are likely to greatly compound the already important threats and stressors to native ecosystems and biodiversity associated with habitat loss, invasive species, and introduced disease. Recent studies have indicated that while tropical areas may show less overall warming than high latitude areas, their biota, which are more sensitive to temperature changes, may be at greater risk of extinction than more temperate species. Changes to stream flow and groundwater reserves may have significant impacts on both aquatic systems and human systems. There is a critical need to better understand the implications of climate change and effects on island ecosystems, invasive species, diseases, freshwater availability, sea level rise, and shore erosion, and then develop adaptive management approaches to deal with these challenges.