Doctoral candidate Faith Inman-Narahari recently established 64 census stations to measure seed rain and seedling distribution, abundance, survival and growth within the mapped Laupāhoehoe Forest Dynamics Plot, part of the Hawaiian Permanent Plot Network (HIPPNET). Supported by a CTFS-SIGEO research grant, Faith has applied ecological theory and studied forest plot dynamics patterns in the unique testing ground of the Hawaiian Islands. The most remote archipelago in the world, Hawai’i contains 25 of the 35 global life zones and is known for relatively low levels of tree diversity and high levels of endemism.
The results of the study provide a comparison between the Hawaiian forests and other mainland and island forests. Interestingly, based on comparisons of published data from five other CTFS-SIGEO plot studies, Inman-Narahari has found that dispersal and habitat limitation and the proportion of species with significant habitat associations does not show a clear relationship with global diversity patterns. The project will continue with support from the USDA Forest Service Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry (IPIF), the University of Hawai’i, the University of California Los Angeles, and the Garden Club of America. Future publications will include tests of the effects of habitat and negative density dependence on growth and survival in both wet and dry Hawaiian forest. More information about Faith’s research is available through UCLA and on her blog.
Faith Inman-Narahari records data in Hawaiian forest plot