Inventory Vascular Plants of the Kahuku Addition, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park

Benitez, David M.
Belfield, Thomas
Loh, Rhonda
Pratt, Linda
Christie, Andrew D.
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Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit, University of Hawaii at Manoa
In 2003, the National Park Service acquired 46,943 ha of Kahuku Ranch, in the Ka’ū district of Hawai`i. This addition to Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park includes a diverse assemblage of vegetation communities. No recent vegetation inventories existed, and since the last vegetation map had been created many vegetation types within the former ranch had undergone changes due to grazing pressure, logging and fire. As a result, little was known about the communities and their floristic composition, and appropriate management practices could not be developed. Surveys conducted between 2004 and 2006 in Kahuku described vegetation communities and located rare, threatened and endangered plants, as well as disruptive alien weeds. Forty-one kilometers of transects and 177 vegetation plots were ground-surveyed, and 6.5 hours of helicopter surveys were conducted. Surveys encountered a total flora of 455 vascular plant species, of which 40% were native. Five endangered, one threatened, one candidate endangered, and seven species of concern were found, as well as 26 locally rare native species. Forty-three disruptive alien plant taxa in and near Kahuku were mapped. Several sites containing high numbers of either rare or invasive plants were identified. Information from this inventory allows managers to identify priority areas of alien plant and ungulate control and rare plant recovery, and serves as a baseline to document future changes in the vegetation. Results from this study will also enable managers to develop a framework for long-term management priorities and strategies in Kahuku.
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Benitez DM, Belfield T, Loh R, Pratt L, Christie AD. 2008. Inventory of vascular plants of the Kahuku Addition, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. Honolulu (HI): Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Botany. PCSU Technical Report, 157.
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