James Jacobi, Ph.D.
Ph.D. 1990 Botanical Sciences, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, Honolulu, HI
B.A. 1970 Biology, University of California, Riverside, Riverside, CA
Specialty: A major focus of his research has been mapping the distribution of plant communities throughout the Islands initially utilizing photo interpretation and, more recently, digital image analysis. He is currently a co-PI on the USGS Hawai‘i Ridge-to-Reef project that has been studying watershed and sedimentation dynamics in two study areas on the islands of Kaua‘i (Hanalei watershed) and Moloka‘i (Kawela and Kamalo watersheds). This research includes components that address vegetation mapping and plant community dynamics, erosion and landside dynamics, water and sediment transport, sediment impacts on reef ecosystems, and modeling to integrate the various components. He has also recently worked with both the NPS Inventory and Monitoring Program and the Department of Defense (Army) developing protocols for monitoring plant species and communities.
Research Interests: Hawaiian species and ecosystem conservation; alien species impacts; vegetation ecology; plant community mapping; GIS applications for conservation; plant species and community modeling; vegetation monitoring; assessment of forest bird populations; bringing science to conservation planning.
Personal Interests: The conservation of Hawaiian biodiversity
Science and Products
Climate change is expected to alter the seasonal and annual patterns of rainfall and temperature in the Hawaiian Islands. Warming temperatures and altered precipitation patterns both impact ecological systems, but managing these impacts is difficult without detailed information on the magnitude and timing of these climate-related changes.
This study focuses on assessing changes in vegetation cover and composition inside and outside a fenced exclosure within the USGS Ridge-to-Reef study area on the island of Moloka‘i. This information will be delivered to federal, state, and private land managers who are trying to determine best management practices to reduce erosion and sediment runoff from this dry habitat which has been...
In recent years, the U.S. Geological Survey has been conducting a national biologic carbon sequestration assessment in the conterminous U.S. The assessment is designed to meet the requirements of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which calls for coverage of all 50 states and all ecosystems (including forests, grasslands, wetlands, agricultural lands, and rivers, lakes, and...
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.
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.
These two raster data layers depict the land cover and degree of human disturbance to plant communities on the seven main Hawaiian Islands, and were developed as part of a comprehensive USGS assessment of carbon sequestration potential by natural ecosystems in the State of Hawaii.
This dataset provides information on the current status and various other habitat and descriptive attributes of the native coastal vegetation for seven of the main Hawaiian Islands (i.e., does not include Ni`ihau). Report available.
Identifying opportunities for long-lasting habitat conservation and restoration in Hawaii’s shifting climate
Conservation efforts in isolated archipelagos such as Hawaii often focus on habitat-based conservation and restoration efforts that benefit multiple species. Unfortunately, identifying locations where such efforts are safer from climatic shifts is still challenging. We aimed to provide a method to approximate these potential habitat shifts for...Fortini, Lucas B.; Jacobi, James D.
Potential impacts of projected climate change on vegetation-management strategies in Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park
Climate change is expected to alter the seasonal and annual patterns of rainfall and temperature in the Hawaiian Islands. Land managers and other responsible agencies will need to know how plant-species habitats will change over the next century in order to manage these resources effectively. This issue is a major concern for resource managers at...Camp, Richard J.; Berkowitz, S. Paul; Brink, Kevin W.; Jacobi, James D.; Loh, Rhonda; Price, Jonathan; Fortini, Lucas B.
Potential impacts of projected climate change on vegetation management in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park
Climate change will likely alter the seasonal and annual patterns of rainfall and temperature in Hawai`i. This is a major concern for resource managers at Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park where intensely managed Special Ecological Areas (SEAs), focal sites for managing rare and endangered plants, may no longer provide suitable habitat under future...Camp, Richard J.; Loh, Rhonda; Berkowitz, S. Paul; Brinck, Kevin W.; Jacobi, James D.; Price, Jonathan; McDaniel, Sierra; Fortini, Lucas B.
Vegetation response of a dry shrubland community to feral goat management on the island of Moloka‘i, Hawai‘i
The Hawaiian Islands are well known for their unique ecosystem assemblages that have a high proportion of endemic flora and fauna. However, since human colonization of this archipelago—starting with the arrival of Polynesian sailors approximately 1,200 years ago, and particularly following western contact in 1778—thousands of non-native species...Jacobi, James D.; Stock, Jonathan
Monitoring Hawaiian biodiversity: Pilot study to assess changes to forest birds and their habitat
Biological diversity, or biodiversity, is the variety and abundance of species in a defined area, and is one of the oldest and most basic descriptions of biological communities. Understanding how populations and communities are structured and change over space and time in response to internal and external forces is a management priority. Effective...Gorresen, P. Marcos; Camp, Richard J.; Gaudioso, Jacqueline; Brinck, Kevin W.; Berkowitz, Paul; Jacobi, James D.
Assessing the potential of translocating vulnerable forest birds by searching for novel and enduring climatic ranges
Hawaiian forest birds are imperiled, with fewer than half the original >40 species remaining extant. Recent studies document ongoing rapid population decline and pro- ject complete climate-based range losses for the critically endangered Kaua’i endemics ‘akeke’e (Loxops caeruleirostris) and ‘akikiki (Oreomystis bairdi) by end-of-century due to...Fortini, Lucas B.; Kaiser, Lauren R.; Vorsino, Adam E.; Paxton, Eben H.; Jacobi, James D.
Vegetation map for the Hakalau Forest Unit of the Big Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex on the island of Hawai‘i
This vegetation map was produced to serve as an updated habitat base for management of natural resources of the Hakalau Forest Unit (HFU) of the Big Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex (Refuge) on the island of Hawai‘i. The map is based on a vegetation map originally produced as part of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Hawai‘i Forest Bird...Jacobi, James D.
Potential impacts of sea level rise on native plant communities and associated cultural sites in coastal areas of the main Hawaiian Islands
Hawaiian coastal vegetation is comprised of plant species that are adapted to growing in extremely harsh conditions (salt spray, wave wash, wind, and substrates with limited nutrients) found in this habitat zone. Prior to human colonization of Hawai‘i coastal vegetation extended as a continuous ring around each of the islands, broken only by...Jacobi, James D.; Warshauer, Frederick R.
Baseline and projected future carbon storage and carbon fluxes in ecosystems of Hawai‘i
This assessment was conducted to fulfill the requirements of section 712 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 and to improve understanding of factors influencing carbon balance in ecosystems of Hawai‘i. Ecosystem carbon storage, carbon fluxes, and carbon balance were examined for major terrestrial ecosystems on the seven main...Selmants, Paul C.; Giardina, Christian P.; Jacobi, James D.; Zhu, Zhiliang
Large-scale range collapse of Hawaiian forest birds under climate change and the need 21st century conservation options
Hawaiian forest birds serve as an ideal group to explore the extent of climate change impacts on at-risk species. Avian malaria constrains many remaining Hawaiian forest bird species to high elevations where temperatures are too cool for malaria's life cycle and its principal mosquito vector. The impact of climate change on Hawaiian forest birds...Fortini, Lucas B.; Vorsino, Adam E.; Amidon, Fred A.; Paxton, Eben H.; Jacobi, James D.
Evaluating the long-term management of introduced ungulates to protect the palila, an endangered bird, and its criticial habitat in subalpine forest of Mauna Kea, Hawai'i
Under the multiple-use paradigm, conflicts may arise when protection of an endangered species must compete with other management objectives. To resolve such a conflict in the Critical Habitat of the endangered Hawaiian honeycreeper, palila (Loxioides bailleui), federal courts ordered the eradication of introduced ungulates responsible for damaging...Banko, Paul C.; Hess, Steven C.; Scowcroft, Paul G.; Farmer, Chris; Jacobi, James D.; Stephens, Robert M.; Camp, Richard J.; Leonard, David L.; Brinck, Kevin W.; Juvik, J.O.; Juvik, S. P.
Modeling Hawaiian ecosystem degradation due to invasive plants under current and future climates
Occupation of native ecosystems by invasive plant species alters their structure and/or function. In Hawaii, a subset of introduced plants is regarded as extremely harmful due to competitive ability, ecosystem modification, and biogeochemical habitat degradation. By controlling this subset of highly invasive ecosystem modifiers, conservation...Vorsino, Adam E.; Fortini, Lucas B.; Amidon, Fred A.; Miller, Stephen E.; Jacobi, James D.; Price, Jonathan P.; `Ohukani`ohi`a Gon, Sam; Koob, Gregory A.