Due to our unique location in the Pacific Ocean, Hawai‘i has a large number (approximately 8000) of native species with statuses ranging from common to extremely rare. Out of the 8000, 7% are federally listed as threatened and endangered (T&E) species, and 77% of these are managed. This means that 5.5% (77% of the 7%) of total native species in Hawaii are managed. With few exceptions, only federally listed T&E species receive funding for management efforts, meaning that species not federally listed lack the funding for proper management to prevent population decline. Non federally listed native species, both common and rare, are in need of management. For example, common species such as ‘ōhi‘a and koa trees are significant resources since they form extensive native forests on nearly every island. With so many native species being endemic (only occurring here), it is crucial that native species restoration efforts are given additional resources to increase management efforts.
Island species are incredibly fragile and depend on one another for survival, making threats such as urban development and the introduction of alien species hazardous to their survival. Visit the Invasive Species and Watershed Protection pages for more information on statewide efforts to protect our natural resources.
Figure 1: Breakdown of native species management for Hawaii. Note that the 77% managed only represents 5.5% of the total native species on our islands. Only management of species with detailed data available on the type of management was included in this graphic.
LESS THAN A THIRD OF LANDS NATIVE HABITAT
A healthy ecosystem is essential for a native species to thrive. For this reason, Hawaii has prioritized the maintenance, protection, management, and restoration of the state’s native habitats. The map in Figure 2 (below) shows the land areas where native plants are still dominant and provide habitats for diverse native species to live. Statewide, less than a third (31%) of all land areas support all of the most diverse native habitats. A bit more than one third (37%) of the islands are mixed alien-native dominated plant communities, which also support unique native species. The remaining third (32%) are bare lands or urban, agriculture, and other use lands where native species and habitats no longer thrive.
Figure 2: Hawaii Habitat Map
Source: Pacific Islands Ecosystem Research Center 2014
HAWAII PLANTS HIGHEST RISK FOR EXTINCTION
Hawaii has more than 18 times the national average of threatened and endangered plants, many of which are at risk of extinction since they are specific to Hawaii (see Figure 3).
Figure 3: Number of federally listed plants in Hawaii and US States
Source: US Fish and Wildlife Service website retrieved on 7/17/2014
Learn More and Make a Difference
What You Can Do
- 10 Easy Things You Can Do to Save Endangered Species- http://www.endangered.org/10-easy-things-you-can-do-to-save-endangered-species/
- Use native plants for landscaping- https://dlnrnativegardenrestoration.wordpress.com/category/native-plant-series/urbanlandscaping-plants/common-urban-plants/
- Read about the benefits of using native Hawaiian plants in landscaping- https://www.hawaiiscape.com/2014/08/research-supports-keeping-local/
- Volunteer Opportunities through the Department of Land and Natural Resources- http://dlnr.ivolunteer.com/#1
- Find sites to volunteer, intern, research, or learn with the Conservation Connections app- http://www.conservationconnections.org/
- Learn more about species of greatest conservation needs through Hawaii’s State Wildlife Action Plan: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/wildlife/files/2015/09/SWAP-2015 -Board_Sept2015.pdf (pg. 212)
- Read about how Hawaii ranks compared to mainland USA on recovery expenditures for birdshttp://www.cfr.washington.edu/classes.esrm.458/Leonard_2008.pdf
- For details on individual native species in Hawaii, view the Hawaii Wildlife Center Native Species List - http://www.hawaiiwildlifecenter.org/native-species.html
- For details on individual native species in the Pacific Islands, view the Endangered Species in the Pacific Islands List- http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/teslist.html
- Take a look at the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, showing the status of individual species- http://www.iucnredlist.org/
- Learn more about the benefits of using native Hawaiian plants in landscaping- https://www.hawaiiscape.com/2014/08/research-supports-keeping-local/
- Visit the Division of Aquatic Resources website to learn about their mission to manage,conserve and restore Hawaii’s unique aquatic resources- http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dar/
- Learn more about the Plant Extinction Prevention Program (PEPP)’s mission to protect Hawaii’s rarest native plants from extinction - http://www.pepphi.org/
- Learn more about Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife’s Native Invertebrates Conservation Program- http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/ecosystems/nicp/
- Watch a short video about the indiginous plants in Hawaii- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXT7y9klHCI
- View the following Threatened and Endangered Invertebrate Recovery Plans for Hawaii
Vanessa tameamea photo credit: Cynthia King, DOFAW