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Hawaiian Watershed Response

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Award Year: 
2014
Principal Investigator: 
Tamara Wong, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa
David Duffy, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa

In the Hawaiian Islands, extreme isolation and richly diverse habitats led to an incredibly high rate of endemic species of flora and fauna, now threatened by degradation and loss of habitat. Hawaiian watersheds are recognized for their ecological, cultural, and economic significance, and are in critical need of assessment and protection. The Native Hawaiian proverb, Hahai nō ka ua i ka ulu lā’au (Rain always follows the forest), recognizes the intertwining of water supply and forests in Hawai‘i. Several studies suggest that forest invasion may have significant negative impacts on Hawaiian water resources (Giambelluca and Chen 2008; Kagawa et al. 2009; Mair and Fares 2010; Takashi et al. 2011; Safeeq and Fares 2012).

Integrating climate change adaptation and resilience are important management strategies for these island ecosystems. More research is needed to understand how the hydrology and accompanying ecosystem services of Hawaiian watersheds may respond to shifting forest structure in future climate scenarios. We propose to combine novel predictive species distribution models (SDMs) and species interaction distribution models (SIDMs) with ecosystem service valuation modeling (ES) to address these critical socio-environmental systems (SESs) research questions:

  • How do bioclimatic variables, dispersal, and species interactions affect species abundance?
  • How might species abundances, dispersal, and species interactions respond to changes in future climates?
  • How do changes in forest structure affect the hydrology of watersheds?
  • How do changes in forest structure affect ecosystem services of watersheds, such as cultural resources, water supply, sedimentation, or coral reef health? What are the effects to ecosystem service flow to beneficiaries?
  • How do changes in climate affect the hydrology of watersheds?
  • How do changes in climate affect ecosystem services of watersheds, such as cultural resources, water supply, sedimentation, or coral reef health? What are the effects to ecosystem service flow to beneficiaries?