107.Unit4.Giambelluca_Luke - CLIMATE CHANGE IN HAWAIIS...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
1 CLIMATE CHANGE IN HAWAI‘I’S MOUNTAINS Thomas W. Giambelluca and Mark Sung Alapaki Luke Geography Department, University of Hawai‘i at M ! noa 2424 Maile Way, Honolulu, HI 96822 Hawai‘i’s Mountains As elsewhere, the mountains of Hawai‘i are fundamentally important havens for biodiversity and sources of fresh water. According to traditional Hawaiian belief, mountains are the realm of wao akua, a sacred place where the regeneration of the forests takes place. The “wao akua is at that level of the forest in which plants are prolific and where the wind, rain and sun promises a continuous cycle of re- growth. The health of the forests also means that everything else which uses the forest for their lifecycle is also healthy, this being inclusive of the numerous micro-components within the ecosystems” (Kanahele and Kanahele 2007). Mountains create a range of climates and support the varied environments that make up the ahupua‘a system of ancient Hawai‘i. Native Hawaiians revere and protect the ! ina (land) and recognize the interconnected nature of land and ocean by regarding the swath of land from the highest mauka (inland) areas to makai (shoreline areas) and the adjacent coastal waters as a unit, the ahupua‘a . It is within this context that ancient Hawaiians organized their agricultural, aquacultural, and societal systems. Today, the ahupua‘a concept finds new relevance, as global climate change threatens to bring rapid shifts in temperature, rainfall, cloud cover, and fog frequency to the slopes of Hawai‘i’s mountains. Such shifts are likely to further stress the already vulnerable ecosystems and alter the hydrological cycle of the islands, especially in the higher elevations. But while local climate changes associated with global warming are likely to be most pronounced in the mountains, the impacts of those changes will also be felt downslope where most of the agriculture, industry, and residential development is located. Hawai‘i, “the most isolated island group of comparable size and topographic diversity on earth” (Loope and Mueller-Dombois 1989), has a remarkable biota, which has evolved in isolation resulting in high endemism, evolutionary adaptive radiation, and vulnerability to alien species invasions (Medeiros et al. 1995). Kaneshiro (1989) argued that Hawai‘i’s native biota provides the world’s best laboratory for evolutionary studies and is the state’s single most important natural resource. Lowland landscapes in Hawai‘i were altered by both Polynesian and Western migrants to the islands, through forest clearance, use of fire, and introduction of alien plant and animal species. While human impacts have become pervasive in the lowlands, the high-elevation ecosystems remain relatively intact (Medeiros et al. 1995). Native plant and animal species in Hawai‘i’s mountain forests are marked by extremely high rates of endemism (ca. 95[ for flowering plants, ca. 50[
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 04/08/2011 for the course HWST 107 taught by Professor Kaulia during the Spring '11 term at University of Hawaii, Manoa.

Page1 / 12

107.Unit4.Giambelluca_Luke - CLIMATE CHANGE IN HAWAIIS...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 2. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online