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Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center

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The photo is of volcanic ash dunes in the Kau Desert on Hawaii Island, with plants growing along the edge of the dune.  One of the dominant forest tree species ohia (Metrosideros polymorpha) is flowering with red lehua blossoms.  Ohia is found from sea level to treeline and is a pioneer species, recolonizing sites disturbed by volcanic activity.  All ecosystems are constantly changing, driven by natural and human forces.  Ohia is vulnerable to wildfire, and large cohorts of ohia forest are at risk from wildfire promoted by non-native grasses, as well as disease introduced by plant imports.

Pacific Island Ecosystems - Function and Restoration

Ecosystems are networks of living and non-living components that interact in complex interdependencies and are organized in self-regulating units. Ecosystems consistently fluctuate and are in a state of dynamic equilibrium. Thus, restoring degraded, and in some cases destroyed, systems to their original state is challenging, especially Hawaiian ecosystems where many species are extinct. USGS-PIERC is developing state-of-the art science to provide the tools necessary to describe ecosystems, assess conditions, prescribe restoration approaches and activities, and evaluate the effectiveness of restoration projects.

Projects & Lead Scientists



Project Lead Scientist
Palila Restoration Paul Banko
Dry Forest Restoration Art Medeiros
Forest Bird Food Ecology Paul Banko| Linda Pratt
Anchialine Pool Ecology David Foote
Restoration of Soil Fauna David Foote
Plant Distribution Maps Lloyd Loope
Pacific Island Climate Change Consortium Lucas Fortini
Reintroduction of Laysan Teal Michelle Reynolds

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Page Last Modified: Wednesday, 09-Jan-2013 09:43:34 EST