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The Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit has a forty year history of working to protect cultural and natural biodiversity in the Pacific while encouraging a sustainable economy. Originally founded to support research in U.S. National Parks, the unit has also expanded its efforts to work cooperatively with private and state and federal land organizations, including the Nature Conservancy, Kamehameha Schools, and the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Projects range from finding ways to eradicate Miconia and other alien invasive weeds, to restoring the great fishpond seawall at Koloko-Honokohau National Historic Park, to managing watersheds on Maui and Oahu, to restoring Hawaii's endangered plant species, to studying endangered bird species on Maui and Kauai. Studies on cultural resources are also conducted, particularly where they interact with natural resource management. Often the Unit works as a middleman, allowing agencies to pool and coordinate their efforts so that they can attack problems across the landscape at an appropriate scale.


The PCSU has also produced a series of technical reports on Hawaiian and Pacific natural and cultural resource research and management issues that are widely used by managers and scientists alike.