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Palila Restoration Research, 1996−2012. Summary and management implications

October 29, 2014

The Palila Restoration Project was initiated in 1996 by the U.S. Geological Survey to assist government agencies mitigate the effects of realigning Saddle Road (Highway 200) through Palila Critical Habitat (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1998, Federal Highway Administration 1999). Ecological research on the palila (Loxioides bailleui), an endangered Hawaiian forest bird, carried out by the U.S. Geological Survey (formerly organized as the Research Division of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) since 1987 and research conducted by the Palila Restoration Project provided the scientific bases for developing a recovery strategy (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2006) and its adaptive implementation. The main objectives of the Palila Restoration Project were to develop techniques for reintroducing the palila to a portion of its former range, investigate the biological threats to the palila and its habitat, and synthesize the existing body of ecological knowledge concerning the palila. Five broad study themes formed the research framework: 1. Population reintroduction and restoration 2. Demography and breeding ecology 3. Habitat use and food ecology 4. Vegetation ecology 5. Predator ecology and management An element that was not included in the research program of the project was the ecology and management of introduced ungulates, which has historically constituted the single greatest threat to Palila Critical Habitat (Banko et al. 2009). The absence of ungulate studies should not be interpreted to mean that we believe ungulates no longer damage palila habitat. Other research has already established that removing alien browsers and grazers from Mauna Kea is essential for the recovery of the subalpine forest on which palila now depend (Scowcroft and Giffin 1983; Scowcroft and Sakai 1983; Scowcroft and Conrad 1988, 1992; Hess et al. 1999). Moreover, the Federal District Court of Hawai‘i has ordered the State of Hawai‘i to remove browsing ungulates from Palila Critical Habitat (Banko et al. 2009, Hess and Banko 2011). This final report summarizes results of Palila Restoration Project research from December 1996 to December 2012. Even though some results contained in this report have been published in scientific journals and other technical reports (Appendix I), they are included here to provide a comprehensive chronicle of all project activities.

Publication Year 2015
Title Palila Restoration Research, 1996−2012. Summary and management implications
Authors Paul C. Banko, Chris Farmer, Steve Dougill, Luanne Johnson
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype Other Report
Series Title Technical Report
Series Number HCSU-046A
Index ID 70145721
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center