Status and Trends of Hawaiian Flora and Fauna

Science Center Objects

Hawai‘i has more endangered species than any other state - over 394 species.  In spite of this fact, there is not a central clearing house for information on the status and trends of these species.  Information is spread over the following areas:

1. USGS maintains some information on Forest Birds.

2. USFWS maintains summary data on listed and proposed plants.

3. The University of Hawai‘i maintains spatial data on rare plant locations.

4. Individual researchers maintain information on key invertebrates.

5. Bishop Museum maintains a checklist of species present in Hawai‘i in all taxonomic groups.

Overview:

Hawai‘i has more endangered species than any other state - over 394 species.  In spite of this fact, there is not a central clearing house for information on the status and trends of these species.  Information is spread over the following areas:

Geranium Multiflorum
Flowering Geranium multiflorum. Photo: J. Jacobi 
  1. USGS maintains some information on Forest Birds.
  2. USFWS maintains summary data on listed and proposed plants.
  3. The University of Hawai‘i maintains spatial data on rare plant locations.
  4. Individual researchers maintain information on key invertebrates.
  5. Bishop Museum maintains a checklist of species present in Hawai‘i in all taxonomic groups.

This project creates a central clearinghouse to maintain information on Hawaiian biodiversity to provide immediate web access to current status and trends. Records from this clearinghouse will also be used to populate the USGS data base Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation (BISON). Principal partners/data users include the USGS Core Science Systems Mission Area, US Fish and Wildlife Service's Pacific Islands Office, the National Park Service, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance, and local landowners such as Kamehameha Schools.

Project Objectives:

Provide status and trends information via web databases on:

  1. All Native birds species
  2. All Native plant species, including listed, candidate, and spp of concern
  3. Selected key native inverts (damselflies, picturewing flies, tree snails)
  4. Key invasive plant species (ties into Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council, Hawai‘i Species at Risk program, and Global Invasive Species Information Network).
  5. Status of conservation lands across the state, indicating the condition of all lands with respect to their biological value, the conservation intent of the owner, and the effectiveness of on-the-ground land management.

Information collected as part of this effort will also be used to upload data into the Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation (BISON) database operated by the USGS Core Science Systems Mission Area.

This project integrates information from the Hawai‘i Heritage Database, USGS PIERC Hawai‘i Forest Bird Database, GAP data, NPS Inventory and Monitoring Program, Department of Defense rare species data, Hawai‘i Division of Forestry and Wildlife data, Bishop Museum's Hawai‘i Biological Survey, Smithsonian Institution's Hawai‘i plant database, The Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i's land management database, and the Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance's Conservation Effectiveness database, and Hawai‘i Plant Extinction Program databases.

Status and trends means: (status: no. pops, no. indiv.) (trends: decline, stable, increase)

‘Akiapōlā‘au on a tree branch
‘Akiapōlā‘au on a tree branch. Photo: J. Jacobi

Highlights and Key Findings:

The USGS Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center is one of 25 members of the Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance (HCA) which is comprised of most of the federal, state, and NGO agencies or organizations involved with conservation research and management in the Hawaiian Islands. One major task of HCA has been to compile, analyze, and interpret pertinent spatial datasets that relate to conservation on Hawai‘i's terrestrial and marine biodiversity resources. This effort, called the Effective Conservation Program (ECP), is designed to provide and update this information regularly so it can be used to help with developing conservation strategies and actions by members of the HCA, as well as providing periodic snapshots of the status of the biological resources of Hawai‘i. The first iteration of the ECP data compilation is nearing completion and the information is already being brought into use by HCA members, as well as by selected local communities, to aid with understanding key conservation issues and to develop strategies to minimize the loss of these valuable resources.

Further information on the ECP effort can be found here.

2015 Progress:

During 2015, J. Jacobi continued collaboration with the Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance (HCA) to compile a virtual database containing current and historic information on the distribution and status of Hawaiian plant and animal species, invasive species, and plant communities to serve as a basis for assessing current conservation efforts for these elements by the HCA partners. Additionally, this information is being used to provide a science foundation for determining recovery habitat for Hawaiian plant species. This has become an ongoing effort and PIERC scientists are being encouraged to provide additional data pertinent to conservation management into the HCA database. He also assisted the US Fish and Wildlife Service's Pacific Islands Office with compiling and analyzing data on the former and current distribution and status of listed Threatened or Endangered Hawaiian plant species which the FWS will use to assess essential habitat needs for these taxa.

G. Tribble and J. Jacobi have continued to serve as USGS-PIERC representatives on the USFWS/Hawai‘i Division of Forestry and Wildlife Endangered Species Recovery Committee to provide advice and guidance on the biological aspects of State and Federal Habitat Conservation and Safe Harbor applications and agreements.

2016 Planned Work: 

During 2016, J. Jacobi will continue to work with the Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance's Effective Conservation Project in compiling existing data relative to species and habitats in both the terrestrial and marine realms, and conducting basic analyses to evaluate the current manifestation of conservation efforts in Hawai‘i. He will also assist the US Fish and Wildlife Service's Pacific Islands Office with compiling and analyzing data on the former and current distribution and status of listed Threatened or Endangered Hawaiian plant species which the FWS will use to assess essential habitat needs for these taxa.

G. Tribble and J. Jacobi will continue to serve as USGS-PIERC representatives on the USFWS/Hawai‘i Division of Forestry and Wildlife Endangered Species Recovery Committee to provide advice and guidance on the biological aspects of State and Federal Habitat Conservation and Safe Harbor applications and agreements.