Conservation biology of Hawaiian forest birds

The Hawaiian Islands are hotspots of endemism, invasion and extinction. Threats facing Hawaii’s forest birds in particular are numerous and severe. Those most frequently highlighted are: 1) habitat loss and degradation, 2) introduced disease, 3) predation by introduced mammals, and 4) gaps in knowledge of life history characteristics for the rarest species. Our lab’s research has focused on providing crucial basic ecological information on some of Hawaiis rarest species, and exploring opportunities for recovering these populations through habitat restoration on public and private land. On Hawaii Island, we were among the first to describe habitat use by a federally endangered honeycreeper, Akiapolaau, in old growth and planted forests. This work, which provided insight into the ecology of this elusive species, and demonstrated the potential of production forestry for supporting rare species, was published in Ecological Applications, the Auk, and Environmental Science and Policy. More recently, we have been collaborating with the Kauai Forest Bird Recovery Project to study Kauai’s rarest birds.