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Abstract Detail

Ecological Section

Inman-Narahari, Faith [1], Ostertag, Rebecca [2], Cordell, Susan [3], Giardina, Christian [3], Sack, Lawren [4].

Hawaii Permanent Plot Network: First Census Results and Ongoing Research.

The Hawaii Permanent Plot Network (HIPPNET) has developed forest plot research infrastructure and data for studying long-term climate and species changes in native Hawaiian forest. We use methods that permit global comparisons among forest types and have also developed new data collection technology to increase efficiency. All native woody species ≥1 cm diameter have been mapped, measured, and identified in two intact, native-dominated 4-ha plots on Hawai'i Island, one in montane wet forest at Laupahoehoe and the other in lowland dry forest at Palama Nui. At each site we have tagged 13,000-15,000 trees from 15-25 species. HIPPNET has also installed climate stations at each site to provide continuous environmental data including temperature, rainfall, light, and relative humidity. These climate data, coupled with repeated census data, will allow us to correlate changes in tree species composition, mortality, and growth rates with climate variables. HIPPNET maps of tree spatial distribution layered onto high-resolution LiDAR data will allow us to track changes in species distributions along micro-topographic gradients, and make it possible to model future climate-driven range shifts for native species in both wet and dry forest systems. These predicted range shifts can have important consequences for our local watershed hydrology and preservation of plant species diversity. In addition, we provide this infrastructure for other researchers to study vegetation within a mapped plot. This research in HIPPNET plots will be essential for making informed policy solutions to best shape our cultural, economic, and ecological future.

Broader Impacts:
The biological significance of the Hawaiian forest has been widely recognized, but basic information on species habitat requirement and regeneration dynamics is still lacking. For this project we are collaborating with land managers, students, and scientists to provide information that can be directly used for conservation of forest habitats. In addition to providing crucial conservation information, we expect that our study design will allow us to place our research in the broader context of tropical forest research. Our results on the comparison between seedling dynamics across forest types will provide insight into emergent properties of wet and evergreen dry tropical forests worldwide. The HIPPNET project has successfully trained many undergraduates and recent graduates in field ecology and has assisted with career development for several native Hawaiian islanders and other underrepresented groups. This project will continue to incorporate teaching and practical field experience for undergraduates into our research.

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1 - University of California, Los Angeles, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Campus Box 951606, 621 Charles E. Young Dr. S., Los Angeles, CA, 90095-1606, USA
2 - University of Hawaii, Hilo, Biology Department, 200 W. Kawili St., Hilo, HI, 96720, USA
3 - USDA Forest Service, Pacific Southwest Research Station, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, 60 Nowelo St., Hilo, HI, 96720, USA
4 - University of California, Los Angeles, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 621 Charles E. Young Drive, Los Angeles, CA, 90095, USA

tropical forest
climate change
permanent plots.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 21
Location: 552A/Convention Center
Date: Monday, August 2nd, 2010
Time: 4:45 PM
Number: 21005
Abstract ID:608

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