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Distribution and Population Status of the Endangered 'Akiapola'au

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Title:Distribution and Population Status of the Endangered 'Akiapola'au
Authors:Fancy, Steven G.
Sandin, Stuart A.
Reynolds, Michelle H.
Jacobi, James D.
Date Issued:Oct 1996
Publisher:University of Hawaii Press
Citation:Fancy SG, Sandin SA, Reynolds MH, Jacobi JD. 1996. Distribution and population status of the endangered 'Akiapola'au. Pac Sci 50(4): 355-362.
Abstract:The 'Akiapola'au (Hemignathus munroi Rothschild) is an endangered
Hawaiian honeycreeper that is found only in high-elevation native
forests on the island of Hawai'i. The Hawai'i Forest Bird Surveys (HFBS)
during 1976-1979 on Hawai'i found four disjunct populations of 'Akiapola'au
totaling 1500 ± 400 (95% CI) birds. This total included 533 ± 320 in the
Ka'u Forest Reserve and 46 ± 51 birds in dry mamane (Sophora chrysophylla
[Salisb.] Seem.) forest on Mauna Kea. Because 'Akiapola'au are so rare, it was
necessary to use data for other species to determine the effective area surveyed
for 'Akiapola'au and to use data interpolation and smoothing techniques to
derive the HFBS estimate of 1500 'Akiapola'au. We used a newly developed
analysis approach to estimate the population size for 'Akiapola'au based on
surveys conducted during 1990-1995. We plotted all recent detections of
'Akiapola'au and stratified the current distribution of the species based on distribution
of koa (Acacia koa A. Gray) forests and elevation contours. A population
estimate was derived by multiplying the density of 'Akiapola'au within
each stratum, as determined from variable circular plot counts, by the area
within each stratum. We estimate that there are 1163 ± 54 (90% CI) 'Akiapola'au
in the world. The distribution of 'Akiapola'au has been greatly reduced
in the Ka'u District, where the estimated population has declined from 533
to 44 birds, and relic populations in mamane forest and South Kona are
likely to become extinct within the next 5 yr. Protection and management of
the remaining isolated stands of koa forest at higher elevations where mosquitoes
are absent or occur only seasonally are critical to the survival of this
Appears in Collections: Pacific Science Volume 50, Number 4, 1996

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