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Lana'i Island's Arid Lowland Vegetation in Late Prehistory

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Title:Lana'i Island's Arid Lowland Vegetation in Late Prehistory
Authors:Allen, Melinda S.
Murakami, Gail M.
Date Issued:Jan 1999
Publisher:University of Hawai'i Press
Citation:Allen MS, Murakami GM. 1999. Lana'i island's arid lowland vegetation in late prehistory. Pac Sci 53(1): 88-112.
Abstract:Native Hawaiian dryland forests, important from both ecological
and cultural perspectives, are among the more poorly known Hawaiian
vegetation types. Wood-charcoal assemblages from archaeological features
offer one means for investigating not only the composition of these diverse
forests, but also the timing and mechanisms of their demise. Representing
short-duration events, and relatively localized catchments, wood-charcoal assemblages
provide different information from time-averaged, regional-scale
pollen records. Analysis of the wood-charcoal evidence from the traditional
Hawaiian settlement of Kaunolu, southwestern Lana'i, suggests that arborescent
dryland forest species once extended into the island's arid lowland regions.
Moreover, many dryland forest taxa apparently persisted in this region
until sometime after abandonment of the Kaunolu settlement in the mid-1800s.
We suggest that although Native Hawaiians may have contributed to forest
loss, ultimately some other mechanism, most likely exotic herbivores, transformed
the southern coast of Lana'i into the arid grasslands seen today.
Appears in Collections: Pacific Science Volume 53, Number 1, 1999

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