Ecosystem Processes: Tropical Ecosystems
^ Main Topic |
Tropical Ecosystems |
Sierra Nevada Ecosystems
Our mission is to develop and implement knowledge needed to restore, protect, and sustain upland and wetland forests of the Pacific for purposes of conservation and use.
Research and Technical Assistance Emphases:
Invasive Species: Invasive exotic species are a major threat to Pacific Island forests. In Hawaii , almost 1100 exotic plants have naturalized during the last 200 years. Of these, more than 100 pose significant threats to native ecosystems and species, altering ecosystems processes such as regeneration, nutrient availability, water supply, fire regimes and biodiversity. More than half of these species were intentionally introduced to Hawai'i for their potential utility in forestry, horticulture and ranching. The Forest Service's Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry is one of the few federal laboratories whose mission includes research and control of invasive plants in native ecosystems.
Restoration of Ecosystem Processes:
The research team is determining how to put tropical forests back on lands that were
cleared for agriculture that were unsustainable. Such forests have immense conservation
and economic value, serving as habitat for Hawaii's record-high numbers of threatened
and endangered species as well as offering a mix of harvestable (e.g., wood, water, game
animals) and non-consumable (e.g., ecotourism, recreation, esthetic) products of great
economic importance to the State.
Forested Wetlands on Pacific Islands:
We research on basic ecological
processes in mangrove forests and freshwater swamps. Efforts are underway
to incorporate the process of adaptive management into sustainable natural
resource management in developing countries.
Research is based primarily on the island of Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia,
where mangrove forests (shown in green on the right) account for 15% of the land area.
Freshwater swamps just inland from the mangroves probably account for another 15%.
Approximately 8,000 people live on this 100-sq km island, primarily on the coastal plain behind the mangroves.
Forest Management Services:
In addition to research, the Station hosts a Forest Management Services team
at the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry. The team assists island forest management
agencies, community groups and non-industrial private forest landowners with sustainable management of forest
resources by providing expertise in applying the results of research and developing
policy options. The team provides staff training and technical assistance to island foresters,
and leadership and education support for leaders
and citizens in forest conservation. Team members
are funded by the State and Private Forestry and International Forestry programs.