Pacific Conservation Biology Pacific Conservation Biology Society
A journal dedicated to conservation and wildlife management in the Pacific region.

Just Accepted

This article has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication. It is in production and has not been edited, so may differ from the final published form.

Conservation value of koa (Acacia koa) reforestation areas on Hawaii island

Laurie Strommer , Shiela Conant

Abstract

o Efforts to restore forests for ecological and economic benefit in Hawaii are converging on koa (Acacia koa), an endemic dominant or co-dominant canopy tree common across broad elevation and moisture gradients. We quantified plant species composition and forest structure in koa reforestation areas (KRAs) and in nearby intact native forest on Hawaii Island. Total species richness and percent native species richness were lower in the plantation forests than in the intact forests, although species richness in the KRAs at one site was not significantly different from that in intact forest. Tree, sapling, and seedling densities differed between KRAs and forest sites at one site. At another, the native forest and one KRA had similar tree and seedling densities and similar canopy height and canopy percent cover. Total stand basal area was greatest in the intact forest at both sites, although the basal area for the KRAs at one site exceeded those for intact forest at the other. Koa plantings can be structurally similar to intact forests though species composition differs. Our results suggest that koa forestry can facilitate native understory development in some cases.

PC17046  Accepted 27 November 2017

© CSIRO 2017