7th International Conference on Environmental Futures 🗓 🗺

The 7th International Conference on Environmental Future will be held on the campus of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, April 16-20, 2018.

The conference will cover eighteen broad themes, each of which will be led by the author of a review on that theme:

  1. What is the importance of islands to environmental conservation? – Prof. Christoph Kueffer, ETH Zurich & University of Applied Sciences Eastern Switzerland
  2. How have humans changed island ecosystems through history? – Prof. Todd Braje, San Diego State University
  3. What are the future challenges for island ecology and evolution? – Prof. Rosemary Gillespie, University of California, Berkeley
  4. How can island conservation contribute to human wellbeing? – Dr Iris Monnereau, FAO
  5. How are islands dealing with the challenge of balancing development with sustainability? – Prof. John Connell, University of Sydney
  6. How can we incorporate the value of island environments into conservation? – Assoc. Prof. Kirsten Oleson, University of Hawaii Manoa
  7. How can indigenous and local knowledge (ILK) be used to improve island environmental futures? – Assoc. Prof. Matthew Lauer, San Diego State University
  8. How can we build island communities that are resilient to the impacts of climate change and environmental hazards? – Dr. Ilan Kelman, University College London & University of Agder, Kristianstand
  9. What role can the humanities play in island conservation? – Emeritus Prof. Garry Trompf, University of Sydney
  10. How does environmental governance on islands currently operate and what forms of governance produce the best outcomes? – Prof. Marion Glaser, ZMT, Bremen
  11. How can we improve island conservation through integrated marine and terrestrial management? – Dr. Stacy Jupiter, WCS Melanesia
  12. What is the current state of knowledge of island extinctions and how can this be used to set baselines for restoration? – Dr. Jamie Wood, Landcare Research, New Zealand
  13. How well are island conservation issues addressed in international conventions and agreements? – Dr. Arthur Dahl, President International Environment Forum & Retired UNEP Deputy Assistant Executive Director
  14. What have we learnt about invasive species on islands and what are the best strategies for dealing with them in the future? – Dr. James Russell, University of Auckland
  15. What is the role of environmental education on islands? – Drs. Fumiyo Kagawa & David Selby, Sustainability Frontiers
  16. How is climate affecting patterns of island migration? – Dr. Maxine Burkett, University of Hawaii Manoa
  17. What are the links between human health and environmental conservation on islands? – Prof. Kerry Arabena, University of Melbourne
  18. How do island sovereignty and conservation relate to each other? – Dr. Alex Mawyer, University of Hawaii Manoa

Review papers on each of these themes have been commissioned and will be published in Environmental Conservation prior to the conference. As papers are published they will be listed here.

Oral tradition and traditional ecological knowledge in Aotearoa New Zealand  🗺

May 15, 2017 — 11:00 AM

Moore Hall 575

Please join the Biocultural Initiative for a talk by visiting scholars Priscilla Wehi and Hemi Whaanga, followed by a conversation over lunch (feel free to bring your lunch). 


Pre European contact Māori culture had a strongly developed tradition of oral literature, and whakataukī (sayings passed down through the generations) enjoyed wide currency. Whakataukī provide an enduring record of tribal memory and represent an important method for transmitting critical information about aspects of life, society and the environment. However, their meanings may not be apparent without knowing the societal, historical, cultural and linguistic context out of which they emerged. Such codified knowledge depends on language use and structure as a key mechanism for cultural transmission.

In this research, together with our collaborators Tom Roa (University of Waikato) and Murray Cox (Massey University) we have identified linguistic markers and principles of textual reconstruction to derive time estimated patterns of knowledge embedded in this form of oral tradition. Our primary dataset of c.4,000 versions of whakataukī is drawn from collections published after European arrival ca. 200 years ago. We indicate the kinds of ecological information available. We will discuss how whakataukī shed light on the connections between humans and their environment that transcend prosaic uses, and illuminate deeper social and behavioural engagement with their surrounding environment.

Bio – Dr Priscilla Wehi

Landcare Research Manaaki Whenua, NZ

Priscilla Wehi is a conservation biologist at New Zealand’s government institute for terrestrial ecology, Landcare Research Manaaki Whenua. She is a 2014-2020 Rutherford Discovery Fellow with interests in biocultural diversity and stable isotope ecology. She completed degrees in Zoology and Animal Ecology, before finishing her PhD in 2006 at the University of Waikato on traditional resource management of harakeke by Māori. Cilla currently works on aspects of human-nature relationships, including past, present and future indigenous resource management, and socio-ecological relationships with introduced species that challenge native ecosystems. She is a mother to three young adults, and is related to Tainui, Tūhoe and Ngāpuhi through marriage.

Bio – Dr Hēmi Whaanga

School of Maori and Pacific Development, University of Waikato, NZ

Hēmi is a linguist and senior research fellow in Te Pua Wānanga ki te Ao (The Faculty of Māori and Indigenous Studies) at the University of Waikato, Aotearoa / New Zealand. Hēmi finished a BA in Māori language in 1996, before completing a Masters degree that analysed Māori language structure and the teaching of Māori language. His 2006 PhD investigated discourse relationships between different language elements in Māori. He has worked as a project leader and researcher on a range of projects centred on the revitalisation and protection of Māori language and knowledge. He affiliates to Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāi Tahu and has two daughters with his wife Katrina.

Andrea L. Berez-Kroeker

Department of Linguistics
andrea.berez [at] hawaii [dot] edu

I am an assistant professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. I’m primarily a documentary linguist specializing in Athabascan (Alaska) and Chimbu-Wahgi (Papua New Guinea) languages. My approach to language description examines field-collected data and archived materials in a discourse-functional theoretical framework. I consider language to be a human behavioral phenomenon to be studied in the context of discourse and society, and I see grammatical structure as a product of the cultural and linguistic practices of the members of a speech community.More…

Maxine Burkett

William S. Richardson School of Law
burkettm [at] hawaii [dot] edu

Maxine Burkett joined the William S. Richardson School of Law in 2009. She teaches Climate Change Law and Policy, Torts, Environmental Law, International Environmental Law, and International Development.

She has written extensively in diverse areas of climate law with a particular focus on climate justice, exploring the disparate impact of climate change on vulnerable communities in the United States and globally. Professor Burkett has presented her research on the law and policy of climate change throughout the United States and in West Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean.

Lyle Campbell

Department of Linguistics (emeritus)
lylecamp [at] hawaii [dot] edu

Bio: Lyle Campbell grew up in rural Oregon. He received a B.A. in Archaeology and Anthropology in 1966, M.A. in Linguistics (University of Washington) in 1967, and Ph.D. in Linguistics (UCLA) in 1971.

Campbell held appointments at the University of Missouri (1971–1974), the State University of New York at Albany (1974–1989), Louisiana State University (1989–1994), the University of Canterbury, in Christchurch, New Zealand (1994–2004), the University of Utah (2004–2010), and currently the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. He has been a visiting professor at Australian National University, Colegio de México, Memorial University, University of Hamburg, University of Helsinki, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Universidad del País Vasco, University of Turku, and at three universities in Brazil. He has held joint appointments in Linguistics, Anthropology, Behavioral Research, Latin American Studies, and Spanish.More…

Jonathan L. Deenik

Department of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences
jdeenik [at] hawaii [dot] edu

Bio: Jonathan Deenik received his BA in History and Art History (College of Wooster) and then joined the Peace Corps where is served as a teacher and teacher trainer in the forest of southern Cameroon (’85-’87) and remote central Nepal (’87-’91). He came to Hawaii in 1992 and completed his MS and PhD degrees at Manoa in Soil Science. He joined the Dept of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences in 2003 with a three-way split (extension, research and instruction). His work focuses on soil nutrient management and soil quality across the spectrum of tropical agroecosystems. He works with farmers throughout the Hawaiian Islands and Micronesia.

Projects: Jonathan works closely with graduate students and extension agents to help farmers match nutrient inputs to cropping systems and soil and climatic conditions to maintain target yields while enhancing the soil resource and minimizing negative impacts to air and water quality. His work also includes identifying and promoting the utilization of alternative soil amendments from waste (sewage sludge conversion to biochar, biofertilizers from anaerobic digestion, and composting) in farming systems across the Pacific. Most recently, Jonathan has worked in a large USDA funded obesity prevention project throughout the US Affiliated Pacific. His focus has been on studying the Pacific agroforest systems, their management and their role in the food system in a time of rapid social, economic and environmental change.

Alan Friedlander

Department of Biology
friedlan [at] hawaii [dot] edu

Over the past 35 years Alan Friedlander has spent > 8,000 hours underwater—from coral reefs to the Arctic and to depths of thousands of feet, exploring some of the most remote and challenging regions on earth. He is currently Chief Scientist for National Geographic’s Pristine Seas Project where he leads research efforts to help understand and conserve the last wild places in the ocean. His more than 100 scientific publication, 25 book chapters, 10 documentary films, and numerous popular articles are widely cited and have been influential in addressing major issues in marine conservation. Alan was previously the leader of the Hawaii Cooperative Fisheries Research Unit and Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Hawaii where he is currently the Director of the Fisheries Ecology Research Lab. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Hawaii and was a National Research Council Postdoctoral Associate with the Pacific Fisheries Environmental Lab in Monterey, California. Alan is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, 2006 Duke University Distinguished Conservation Scholar, and along with the Pristine Seas Team, was awarded the 2014 Environmental Hero Award by the Environmental Media Association. His major research areas of interest are coral reef community ecology, fisheries science, marine conservation biology, and traditional marine resource use and management. The Fisheries Ecology Research Lab is developing partnerships with local communities, scientists, and management agencies to better understand fish biology and fisheries uses around the state in order to promote wise harvest practices.

Orou Gaoue

Department of Botany
ogaoue [at] hawaii [dot] edu

Research in my lab is at the interface of population ecology and ethnoecology and uses mathematical models, field observations and experiments as well as ethnographic methods to study plant-human interactions. I am interested in basic ecological questions with implications for the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. My research emphasizes the role of environmental stochasticity on the response of ecological systems to perturbation. In terms of environmental stochasticity, I focus on both stochastic temporal variation in the ecological conditions in which plants occur and stochasticity in the behavior of human (or any agent) who interact with these resources. I tend to focus on plant populations. However, I am developing new projects to investigate the effects of perturbation and fragmentation on plant-insect mutualism. Here in Hawaii, the focus of the lab will be on the population viability analysis of endangered plants.More…

Alex Golub

Department of Anthropology
golub [at] hawaii [dot] edu

Bio: Alex Golub has degrees in anthropology from Reed College (BA) and the University of Chicago (MA and Ph.D.). He is a political anthropologist who studies the Porgera gold mine in Papua New Guinea and its relationship with the local community on whose land it is located. His book Leviathans at the Gold Mine: Creating Indigenous and Corporate Actors at the Porgera Gold Mine was published by Duke University Press in 2014. More broadly, he is interested in social change and resource extraction as they relate to cultural sustainability. In addition to political anthropology and Pacific studies, he has an interest in 20th century intellectual history.More…

Gary Holton

Department of Linguistics
holton [at] hawaii [dot] edu

As a documentary linguist my work focuses on creating a lasting record of endangered human languages, particularly the non-Austronesian (Papuan) languages of eastern Indonesia and the Dene (Athabascan) languages of Alaska. Most of these languages are in danger of disappearing, and their systematic documentation preserves endangered knowledge systems while also contributing to an understanding of the diversity of human languages. My approach to language documentation is holistic and relies crucially on trans-disciplinary, collaborative methodologies. [website]


  • Traditional ecological knowledge of Abui (NSF BCS-1535763) (supplement to the project Alor-Pantar Languages: Origins and Theoretical Impact)
  • Documenting Gwich’in Indigenous astronomy (NSF OPP-1317245)
  • Linking maps, manuscripts, and place names data to improve environmental knowledge in Alaska (NSF OPP-1415603)