#157. Benitez, D.M., T. Belfield, R. Loh, L. Pratt and Andrew D.
Christie. June 2008.
Inventory of vascular plants of the Kahuku addition, Hawai'i
Volcanoes National Park
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In 2003, the National Park Service acquired 46,943 ha of
Kahuku Ranch, in the Ka’ū district of Hawai`i. This addition to Hawai`i
Volcanoes National Park includes a diverse assemblage of vegetation
communities. No recent vegetation inventories existed, and since the
last vegetation map had been created many vegetation types within the
former ranch had undergone changes due to grazing pressure, logging and
fire. As a result, little was known about the communities and their
floristic composition, and appropriate management practices could not be
developed. Surveys conducted between 2004 and 2006 in Kahuku described
vegetation communities and located rare, threatened and endangered
plants, as well as disruptive alien weeds. Forty-one kilometers of
transects and 177 vegetation plots were ground-surveyed, and 6.5 hours
of helicopter surveys were conducted. Surveys encountered a total flora
of 455 vascular plant species, of which 40% were native. Five
endangered, one threatened, one candidate endangered, and seven species
of concern were found, as well as 26 locally rare native species.
Forty-three disruptive alien plant taxa in and near Kahuku were mapped.
Several sites containing high numbers of either rare or invasive plants
were identified. Information from this inventory allows managers to
identify priority areas of alien plant and ungulate control and rare
plant recovery, and serves as a baseline to document future changes in
the vegetation. Results from this study will also enable managers to
develop a framework for long-term management priorities and strategies
Abstract, introduction, the survey area, methods, results and