Ecosystem Processes: Tropical Ecosystems
^ Main Topic |
Tropical Ecosystems |
Sierra Nevada Ecosystems
Forest Management Services:
The mission of the Forest Management Services (FMS) Team is "to enable people of the Pacific islands to manage their forests in a sustainable manner consistent with local economic, cultural, and social values." A primary focus of the team is to ensure adequate funding and technical support to the American-affiliated islands that are clients of the USDA Forest Service's State and Private Forestry Program, in cooperation with Region 5. Through additional support from the Forest Services International Programs, the team is able to also participate in international forestry issues throughout the Pacific islands. Team members work closely with island forestry leaders, the Pacific Islands Committee of the Council of Western State Foresters, USDA Forest Service Region 5 ( State & Private Forestry and Fire & Aviation Management), the USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory & Analysis Group, non-government organizations, and government agencies. The emphasis of the team is to provide technical assistance to island forestry leaders throughout the Pacific.
Forest Management Service Team members emphasize six primary programs of support throughout the Pacific:
Restoration of forested ecosystems is generally achieved at any reasonable scale only with broad community involvement. The Urban and Community Forestry and Forest Stewardship Programs, with their requirements for broad-based councils, are now active in the Territory of Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Territory of American Samoa, the Republic of Palau, the State of Hawaii, and each state of the Federated States of Micronesia.
The Forest Management Services team has been actively involved with the Guam Forestry Department in restoring the "badlands" and anthropogenic grasslands in Southern Guam to a less fire prone landscape with a greater forest component.
The Forest Management Services team has focused its forest health emphasis on invasive species management. The Forest Health Management Coordinator is the primary agent for this work, but all members of the team are engaged in invasive species management and policy. Margie Falanruw advises control of Imperata cylindrica and Mikania micrantha in Yap. Katie Friday works with the Kaulunani Council that has financed weed risk assessments for most of the landscape industry's species in Hawaii. The Forest Health Coordinator is active in Hawaii's Coordinating Group for Alien Pest Species (CGAPS) and the Big Island Invasive Species Committee. All team members advise State & Private Forestry program managers and clients concerning appropriate species selection for work funded by grants. The Pacific Island Forester, Fred Bell, is actively engaged in the Koa Wilt Working group, a public/private partnership looking for management solutions for Fusarium oxysporum, which is threatening koa (Acacia koa) forests in Hawaii.
One of the largest needs of our Pacific Island clients is an ongoing training program to increase the technical and professional skills of their staff. The FMS team organized the first Pacific Islands Forestry Short course in 2003. The training session consisted of two weeks of instruction in Hilo in May and June, on the subjects of Nursery Management, Vegetation Management, and Invasive Plant Species Control, and was taught to twenty-nine of our island partners and local university students. The second training session was conducted in Hilo in June, 2004, with courses on Nitrogen Fixation and Forest Management, Strategic Planning for Natural Resources, and Adaptive Management. Twenty-four of our island partners and local university students attended this two week session. The 2005 version of the Forestry Short course is planned to be offered in Guam and may include the topics of Fire Ecology, Forest Restoration, Storm Disturbance, and Forest Stewardship Plans. Forest Service programs that have helped finance the Forestry Short Courses include State & Private Forestry, International Programs, and the Washington Civil Rights Office.
<Back to top of page>
Inventory, Planning, and Monitoring
Pacific Northwest Research Station's Forest Inventory and Analysis program (FIA) has become actively engaged in the Pacific islands during the last three years, with inventory work in American Samoa, Guam, and Palau. It was decided to do "triple spatial intensity" of plots with the Pacific Islands, compared to the U. S. mainland, due to the extremely high bio-diversity in small islands. In addition to the FIA inventory work, Region 5 State and Private Forestry has put together contracts for "Quick Bird" high resolution satellite imagery for many of our island partners, including American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), and Palau. As one of the major FMS goals is to support natural resource planning, the FMS team conducted a planning workshop with CNMI, and conducted a strategic planning course module at the June 2004 Forestry Short Course in Hilo.
Economic Diversification and Development
With the sunset of the Hawaii Forestry and Communities Initiative, economic opportunity grant money has been greatly diminished in Hawaii. The FMS team is working on two smaller projects - one is looking at economic utilization of the invasive tree albizia (Falcataria moluccana), for decking and veneer material, and the other is looking at opportunities to set up a modern mill in Hawaii to utilize locally grown eucalyptus and other exotic hardwoods for flooring, furniture, and fixtures. In Palau, the Pacific Islands Forester is working with the Palau Conservation Society, the Palau Forestry Department and the State of Melekeok to establish an eco-tourism operation at Lake Ngardok for viewing Palauan crocodiles, Palauan ducks, and other threatened and endangered species unique to this area. Micronesia has few terrestrial based eco-tourism success stories, and success at Lake Ngardok could result in a model to be replicated in other islands. Eco-tourism opportunities in Rota and Kosrae are scheduled to be examined next.
Protected Area Management
FMS team members are working with the Forest Legacy Program to protect high value forests in the Pacific. Three parcels of land with koa forests will be protected on the Big Island in Hawaii through easements, and a 27,000 acre tract of low elevation intact ohia forest, located in the Puna area, is being proposed for protection. A low elevation rain forest in American Samoa has also been proposed for the program. The primary thrust of the Forest Legacy Program is to protect high value forests that are at risk, usually by purchasing easements or development rights. The program is available in Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. In Palau, the Pacific Islands Forester has been working with local government and non-government organizations to protect the Lake Ngardok Reserve by setting up eco-tourism opportunities and encouraging training of local staff.