Correlating the Current and Potential Ranges of Hawaiʻi’s Declining Native Plant Species in Relation to Slope and Aspect on the Summit of Puʻu Kōnāhuanui on the Island of Oʻahu

Date
2023-05-03
Authors
Ragone, Noah L.
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Idol, Travis
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Natural Resources and Environmental Management
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Idol, Travis
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Abstract
The Koʻolau mountain range on Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi, is home to an exceptional amount of endemic plant life. However, the mountain range’s unique biodiversity is under threat from climate change-induced drought and the spread of invasive species, which is highlighted by declining rainfall patterns (Giambelluca et al., 2013). This study aims to provide an understanding of where certain target species are likely to be found and most resistant to these threats based on the aspect of a slope in relation to Oʻahu’s prevailing trade winds. Specifically, Labordia hosakana and Lobelia gaudichaudii subsp. gaudichaudii will be the two species surveyed for this study (Figures 2 and 4). The study will survey species communities across the upper Mānoa watershed from Puʻu Kōnāhuanui to ʻAwaʻawaloa (Mt. Olympus), with the primary study site being the west, north, and east-facing aspects of Puʻu Kōnāhuanui. These surveys will be used to make predictions of these species communities across Mānoa, and the information will be presented using ArcGIS maps that highlight the most suitable habitat for these species in relation to slope and aspect. This research will provide range information to decision-makers, so that they can be best informed when making management decisions regarding future actions for a specific species of interest across the Koʻolaus. The study will address the lack of on-the-ground data to support modeling work done on all native Hawaiian plants, much of which was based on outdated GPS points for various species that have since contracted for Hawaiʻi’s rarest and declining plant species. The research findings will be valuable for resource managers within the Plant Extinction Prevention Program, the Oʻahu Army Natural Resources Program, and the Koʻolau Mountain Watershed Partnerships for protecting rare and declining plant species on the Koʻolau summit and for making informed management decisions regarding species of concern. This research is on-going as of the spring 2023 semester to be completed with a final capstone project in the spring of 2024
Description
Keywords
Koʻolau, Oʻahu, Endemic, Biodiversity, Climate Change, nvasive Species, Species of Concern, Wink-out Species, Mānoa, Watershed, Slope, Aspect, Rainfall, ArcGIS
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16 pages
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Ragone, Noah
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