USGS
Patuxent Home

Accession Number 5001846

Title Growth and survival of trees in a Hawaiian montane rain forest

Project Description The Hawaiian montane rain forest is one of the most uncommon and threatened tropical forests in

the world. The Kulani Forest on Mauna Loa and Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge on

Mauna Kea, both on the island of Hawaii, provide breeding habitat for six species of Hawaiian

honeycreeper finches (three of which are endangered) and several other species of rare and

endemic forest birds. A previous study (Biotropica 28(4b):746-758) estimated the density of trees

and shrubs on 68 0.04-hectare study plots at Kulani and concluded that the two canopy species,

ohia (Metrosideros polymorpha) and koa (Acacia koa), are able to coexist in this primary rain

forest at 1500-1850 m elevation probably because of year-to-year variability in recruitment and

differences in seed dispersal into large gaps. However, that analysis was based on a

mathematical model and it was assumed that koa grew at a faster rate than ohia. Growth studies

in the literature support this assumption but it has not been verified in a forest on both species

simultaneously. In the present study, 520 stems of the two canopy species and 737 stems of 12

subcanopy species of trees and shrubs have been marked at Kulani with aluminum tags and are

being monitored for five years to estimate growth and survival. At Hakalau, 124 stems of ohia and

koa also have been tagged and are being monitored. Hopefully, these data eventually will be used

in a forest simulation model to evaluate management options for restoration of degraded tropical

forests in Hawaii, but development of that model would be proposed later as a new study.

Keywords acacia, growth, hawaii, metrosideros, rain forest, survival,

Principal Jeff S Hatfield, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center: jeff_hatfield@usgs.gov;

Investigators

Navigate PWRC SIS projects by Accession Number: First Previous Next Last

Return to SIS Projects Listing

Nav Bar link SIS List Nav Bar Link Patuxent Nav Bar Link Biological Resources Nav Bar Link USGS Nav Bar Link Interior Navigation Bar