Abstract Detail

Extreme conservation measures for plants at the extremes in the Hawaiian archipelago model system

Keir, Matthew [1].

Partnerships to Advance Plant Conservation in Hawaiʻi.

The native flora of Hawaiʻi is unique, diverse, and spectacular. Hawaiʻi has one hundred thirty-seven islands isolated in Oceania with nearly all the world’s ecosystems. Over millions of years, an estimated 300 colonization events established lineages that evolved into at least 1,375 vascular plants. Almost all are endemic (89% angiosperms, 74% pteridophytes), and new species are still being described. Beginning one thousand years ago, and rapidly increasing in the last two hundred years, abrupt changes caused by the introduction of numerous disruptive organisms scrambled naïve island ecosystems and triggered a decline in the health of Hawaiʻi’s endemic plants. Ninety percent of lowland forests are gone. An estimated 113 plants have already gone extinct. Over 200 critically rare species have fewer than fifty live plants remaining in the wild. Currently, nearly one-third of the Hawaiian flora is on the U.S. Endangered Species List.   Biodiversity loss at this scale is overwhelming. Inadequate resources, limited knowledge of barriers to population establishment at restoration sites, and the sheer number of species at the brink of extinction are best met with extensive collaboration. In response, Hawaiʻi’s dedicated community of plant conservationists developed increasingly collaborative partnerships including Laukahi: The Hawaiʻi Plant Conservation Network, an IUCN SSC Hawaiian Plant Specialist Group, The Plant Extinction Prevention Program and a network of watershed partnerships that protect landscapes across private and public lands. The Hawaiʻi Strategy for Plant Conservation extending on the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation describes a collective vision to coordinate and prioritize actions that reduce threats to native plant species. As a result, there are inspirational stories of success. Extinction has been halted in recent years through targeted in situ and ex situ conservation efforts. With these encouraging achievements, a new focus on recovery and restoration of rare plants and habitats is now promoted. New methods are urgently needed to rescue, rebuild, and protect nature for the future. To do this, we must strengthen partnerships with researchers, especially on developing tools that directly inform our management needs. Applied research is being prioritized for: conservation genetics, engineering cost-efficient threat control, promoting ecological interactions, and remote monitoring.

Related Links:
Phenology Forecast Site

1 - Hawaii State Division of Forestry and Wildlife, 1151Punchbowl St., Room 325, Honolulu, HI, 96813, United States


Presentation Type: Colloquium Presentations
Session: COL05, Extreme conservation measures for plants at the extremes in the Hawaiian archipelago model system
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Wednesday, July 29th, 2020
Time: 1:00 PM
Number: COL05002
Abstract ID:778
Candidate for Awards:None

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