Climate change impacts on the landscape

Science Center Objects

Conduct research needed to provide the information and knowledge necessary for decision-makers to make informed decisions pertaining to management of biological resources in Hawai‘i and the Pacific island ecosystems relative to changing climate conditions.

Conduct research needed to provide the information and knowledge necessary for decision-makers to make informed decisions pertaining to management of biological resources in Hawai‘i and the Pacific island ecosystems relative to changing climate conditions. 

View of a koa tree canopy from below
View of a koa canopy from below. Photo: J. Jacobi

Overview:

Conduct research needed to provide the information and knowledge necessary for decision-makers to make informed decisions pertaining to management of biological resources in Hawai‘i and the Pacific island ecosystems relative to changing climate conditions. This effort includes a mix of efforts including proposal writing, participating in various summits, meetings, forums, etc., as well as continuing some research projects (species range modeling – Price and Jacobi, climate downscaling – Giambelluca, Timm, Diaz, Hamilton, HALENET, etc.).

Project Objectives:

The main objectives of this project will be to:

  1. Develop the methods to model Hawaiian plant species distribution based on species location data relative to climate and habitat conditions.
  2. Compile species location and related habitat data that can be used for modeling species distributions.
  3. Model potential distribution of Hawaiian plant species under current (2000-2010) climate conditions.
  4. Model potential distribution of Hawaiian plant species under future (2100) climate conditions, utilizing climate and sea level rise projections that have been downscaled appropriately for the Hawaiian Islands.

This research focuses on needs expressed by various management partners in Hawai‘i and the Pacific, including  DOI agencies (particularly FWS and NPS), NRCS, Department of Defense, Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, and private landowners that include Kamehameha Schools.

Highlights and Key Findings:

  1. Location data has been compiled for over 1,200 Hawaiian plant species; this information serves as the basis for modeling the current and historical potential range for each taxon.
  2. A GIS layer has been developed for the main Hawaiian Islands that integrates precipitation and temperature (using elevation as a proxy) to depict moisture availability for plants and plant communities. This moisture surface is one of the base layers that can be used to model current and future plant species range for Hawaii.
  3. Maps have been produced depicting the modeled ranges of 1,158 Hawaiian plant species, including all native Hawaiian vascular plant species that have enough data for modeling their range.
Close-up of Clermontia hawaiiensis
Clermontia hawaiiensis. Photo: J. Jacobi