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Title: A botanical baseline study of forests along the east rift of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park adjacent to Kahauale'a
Authors: Cuddihy, Linda W.
Anderson, Stephen J.
Stone, Charles P.
Smith, Clifford W.
LC Subject Headings: Forest ecology -- Hawaii -- Hawaii Island.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Hawaii)
Plant communities -- Hawaii -- Hawaii Island.
Plant ecology -- Hawaii -- Hawaii Island.
Vegetation surveys -- Hawaii -- Hawaii Island.
Issue Date: Dec-1986
Publisher: Cooperative National Park Resources Studies Unit, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Botany
Citation: Cuddihy LW, Anderson SJ, Stone CP, Smith CW. 1986. A botanical baseline study of forests along the east rift of Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park adjacent to Kahauale'a. Honolulu (HI): Cooperative National Park Resources Studies Unit, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Botany. PCSU Technical Report, 61.
Series/Report no.: Technical Report
Abstract: In 1982, Kahauale'a, a privately owned parcel of land adjacent to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, was proposed as a site for a geothermal energy development. As the proposed drill sites were as close as 300 m to the Park boundary and prevailing tradewinds would likely carry emissions into the Park, a pre-development assessment of the Park's vegetation downwind of the project area was needed to permit future evaluation of harmful effects.
Four 1-ha sites in closed Metrosideros forest near the Kahauale’a boundary were selected for intensive survey. Three of these were directly downwind of proposed drilling sites; one site, established as a control, was 8 km from the nearest proposed drill sites or power plants. Within these sites, vegetation was examined in 10 sample quadrats. Data collected included species composition, percentage cover in canopy and ground layers, frequency of epiphytes, and density of woody species. At three sites, the diameters of 25 Metrosideros polymorpha and 10 Ilex anomala trees were measured monthly with a microdendrometer to establish growth rates of these two native species. Mean radial growth rates of Ilex for the
seven-month study period ranged from 1.4 microns/day at site 2 (Napau) to 3.4 microns/day at site 4 (near Thurston). The growth of this species, primarily an understory tree, did not seem to be adversely affected by the Pu’u ‘O’o eruption. Growth rates of Metrosideros at the two sites nearest Pu’u ‘O’o (sites 1 and 2) were far lower than those of Ilex, amounting to 0.3 microns/day. Mean increase in radius of Metrosideros at site 4, more than 12 km from the active vent, was 2.1 microns/day. In order to record pre-development ambient concentrations of elements such as sulfur, chlorine, boron, lead, and arsenic, samples of six native plant species and soil were collected from three sites for laboratory analysis. No significant difference in the levels of these five elements was detected among the three sites. The concentrations of chlorine, sulfur, and boron were higher in Metrosideros and Cibotium glaucum than in the bryophytes and lichen sampled. Lead concentrations were very low in all sampled plants but were highest in Cibotium. Arsenic levels were below minimum detectable limits in all sampled species at all sites. Three 1-ha extensive sites were established downwind of three of the intensively sampled sites, to allow comparison of effects of geothermal emissions at different distances from the source. In these less homogeneous forest sites, vegetation was sampled in 10 quadrats. Species composition was recorded within sample plots, cover of plant species was estimated in all forest layers using the Braun-Blanquet cover-abundance scale, and epiphyte frequency was determined. Results of these studies are presented in this report, together with recommendations for further monitoring.
Description: Reports were scanned in black and white at a resolution of 600 dots per inch and were converted to text using Adobe Paper Capture Plug-in.
Sponsor: National Park Service Contract No. CA 8002 2 0001
Appears in Collections:The PCSU and HPI-CESU Technical Reports 1974 - current

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