Hawai‘i Strategy for Plant Conservation – Objective 2

Objective II: Plant diversity is urgently and efficiently conserved (Targets #5-13)

5. At least 15% of each ecological region or vegetation type is secured through effective management and/or restoration. (GSPC-4)

The World Wildlife Foundation has identified five ecoregions in Hawai'i. They are: Hawai‘i Tropical Moist Forests, Hawai‘i Tropical Dry Forests, Hawai‘i Tropical Low ShrublandsHawai‘i Tropical High Shrublands, and Northwestern Hawai‘i Scrub. The Nature Conservancy of Hawai‘i has identified ten ecological systems that share similar biogeoclimatic conditions. They are Alpine, Subalpine, Montane Dry, Montane Mesic, Montane Wet, Wet Cliff, Lowland Wet, Lowland Mesic, Lowland Dry and Dry Cliff Systems. Laukahi is working with our partners to identify how much of each of these regions are secured through effective management and will report results on our website. 

6. At least 75% of the most important areas for plant diversity of each ecological region protected with effective management are in place for conserving plants and their genetic diversity. (GSPC-5)

Important areas within each ecological region must be protected with management that controls threats to Hawaiian plant. Laukahi is working with our partners to identify the threats that should be controlled for each region (ungulates, rodents, weeds, arthropods, etc.) and the footprint of management for each threat. Once these results are known, they will be published on our website. 

7. At least 75% of known threatened plant species are conserved in situ. (GSPC-7)

The primary intention of plant conservation projects in Hawai‘i is to restore thriving populations within protected habitat to resume their roles in native ecosystems. The recovery of native plant species and habitats is the ultimate goal. Laukahi is working with our partners to identify where SCI are being conserved in situ and where more management is needed to secure habitat for restoration of viable populations. Results will be reported on our website. 

8. At least 75% of SCI are secured with adequate ex situ collections by 2020. (GSPC-8)

In 2012, an Assessment identified 724 Species of Conservation Importance (SCI) in Hawai‘i and found that collections of 528 (73%) plants were being held or grown in at least one of the twenty ex situ facilities interviewed. These results highlight the efforts of many dedicated field botanists, botanical garden and seed bank staff over the last few decades. However, as wild populations continue to decline, it is becoming increasingly important to secure collections for each SCI that are large enough and have a high conservation value. The 2012 Assessment found that only 189 plants met this goal, while collections of 389 plants were made from only 10% or less of the remaining plants. 

9. Collections of at least 20% of SCI are available for rare species recovery, habitat restoration and watershed protection projects. (GSPC-8)

Collections from SCI should be large enough to allow for their use in restoration and recovery programs. Laukahi is working to identify SCI where collections can be used for propagating plants for use in outplanting projects. A comprehensive list of SCI being outplanted for restoration of wild populations is being developed in order to measure progress towards this goal and results will be published here in the coming year. 

10. Collections are duplicated whenever possible and held at facilities either on- island, within state, nationally or internationally. (GSPC-8)

The Hawai‘i Seed Bank Partnership (HSBP) is working to exchange collections between facilities to provide additional security against stochastic events. The HSBP includes facilities on Kauai, O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island where collections can be stored. A comprehensive list of these collections is being developed to report on progress towards this goal. In addition, partnerships with the USDA National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation and Kew Gardenʻs Millennium Seed Bank project will provide more opportunities to secure collections from certain SCI outside of Hawai‘i, providing additional security from hurricanes and other catastrophes. 

11. Conservation plans are developed for SCI to help guide efforts and engage partners to implement habitat protection and secure collections.

Species Conservation Plans

The Hawai‘i Strategy for Plant Conservation includes a template of a Species Conservation Plan using the fields below. Examples for Gardenia brighamii and Acacia koa are provided here: LINK . For plants listed as Threatened or Endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service before 2010, Recovery Plans are available by searching here: ECOS.FWS.GOV. Species Conservation Plans for plants managed by the O‘ahu Army Natural Resources Program can be found here: OANRPlants.

  1. Species Description: biology, distribution, habitat, conservation status and taxonomic notes
  2. Photo Gallery: habitat, habit, morphology, size classes and stages of maturing fruit and seed, etc.
  3. Reproductive Biology: phenology, suspected/known pollinator, pollinator syndromes, mating system, breeding system, seed biology
  4. Habitat Characteristics: abiotic data and associated species from field observation forms
  5. Research: ongoing, proposed and needed studies on biology, ecology, threats and the researchers involved
  6. Populations: to delineate groups of plants using standard methods and labeling
  7. Population Structure & Estimates: summary of population demography and numbers of plants reported on field observation forms and agency reports
  8. Threats and Control Methods: from in situ observations and management reports
  9. Ex situ Goals: for the number of propagules needed to secure each plant and population
  10. Collection Protocols: optimal harvest time, mature fruit characteristics, seed set and vegetative propagation methods, treatment and transport of the propagules
  11. Collection Sampling Strategy: number of plants, population occurrences, and regions to collect
  12. Propagule Viability Maintenance: optimal storage conditions, re-collection intervals and regeneration strategies
  13. Restoration: reintroduction design, including the number of sites, number of plants, provenance of stock, number of founders, etc.
  14. Conservation Partners: lead agency, collectors, land managers, landowners, ex situ facilities, etc.
  15. Logistical Considerations: access to field sites, coordinating research, transporting propagules
  16. Estimated Time and Supplies: staff, transportation, transferring propagules, data management, etc.
  17. Action Plan: organizations involved, objectives, actions, timeline and measures of success

12. Effective management plans and biosecurity measures are in place to prevent new biological invasions. 

Biosecurity Measures

In Hawai‘i, biosecurity topics relating to natural resource management are addressed by the Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species (CGAPS), the Hawai‘i Department of Agriculture (HDOA), and the Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council (HISC).

13. Manage important areas for plant diversity negatively impacted by biological invasions. (GSPC-10)

Members, partners, and field crews of the Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council (HISC), Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species (CGAPS), National Parks (HALE), State of Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Hawai‘i Association of Watershed Partnerships (HAWP), and many others are actively engaged in controlling invasive species across our state.