This Web presentation is based on a poster Session presented at an Ecosystem Management Conference, Sacramento 10/94, and has been updated "regularly" ever since.
Watershed Planning Services
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Mixed Native and Alien Rain Forest, Maui IMAGE:R.Myers 4/94
This research used current technology, at different scales, to evaluate vegetation changes in the watershed, including:
This research was submitted as a dissertation in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree of doctor of philosophy in Ecology at the University of California, Davis.
Also available, an abstract and brief two page text summary of the Research.
1. The Hawai`ian Islands as an Ecological Laboratory
Hawaii from space IMAGE:Courtesy of NASA
Hawai`i is one of the most isolated island groups in the world.
In Hawai`i, more species face possible extinction than anywhere else in the United States.
Hawai`i is considered one of the best natural laboratories for studying ecology.
Native plants and animals are vulnerable to displacement by alien species invasions.
High rates of extinction are often due to habitat destruction and alien species invasion
2. Conservation on the Island of Maui
I'iwi IMAGE: Courtesy N.P.S.
Maui's native rainforests are among the most imperiled in the world.
Of Hawai i's rare, threatened and endangered species, one third are found only on the island of Maui.
Ironically, some of the most intact and extensive native forests left in Hawai`i today occur in the Windward East Maui watershed.
The Windward East Maui watershed supports the State's largest concentration of endangered forest birds.
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The forests that cover the Windward (North) side of Haleakala volcano, on the East side of Maui, are in trouble. Non-native (alien) plants and animals introduced to the islands by people are destroying these ancient forests, and killing many of Maui's endemic plants and animals.
Nearly two-thirds of Maui's original forests have already been lost. The forests that remain are in serious danger of being destroyed by introduced feral animals and aggressive weeds.
Several coordinated, interagency research programs are underway in windward East Maui watershed , by members of the East Maui Watershed Partnership.
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In 1991 seven concerned landowners formed the East Maui Watershed Partnership (EMWP) to coordinate the resource management of 4,047 hectares of watershed ecosystem.
5. Aliens Invade East Maui
Guava stand, Keanae ValleyR. Myers 10/95
Many of Hawaii's unique plant and animal species are now extinct or rare due to habitat loss and displacement by introduced species.
Beginning with the arrival of the polynesians, humans have dramatically changed the Hawai`ian landscape. Human land uses such as agriculture, water diversion, ranching and urban development have altered native habitats.
Alien plant species have been both accidentally and intentionally introduced.
Once established, alien plants often dominate disturbed areas in and adjacent to the forest, crowding out native plants and destroying native habitat systems.
Feral animals, especially pigs and goats, continue to degrade Maui's native rainforests by trampling and eating native plants. Their destructive activities also introduce alien weeds, pests, and diseases into the forest.
Statewide current efforts are focusing on controlling one particularly agressive invader: Miconia calvescens, a tree species in the melastome family from South and Central America. Miconia has invaded and destroyed native forests in Tahiti and other tropical islands. Introduced to Hawaii as an ornamental plant, miconia has spread into the forests of Oahu, Maui and the Big Island.
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6. Expected Results and Final Report to EMWP will:
Rainforest R.Myers 4/94