National Park Service

Pacific Island Network (PACN)

Focal Terrestrial Plant Communities Monitoring

The vegetation crew working in Pacific island parks
The vegetation crew working in Pacific island parks

Features & Briefs

Monitoring Reports

Monitoring Protocol

For more information contact: Alison Ainsworth

Description & Rationale

Video: Sustaining Life - Focal Plant Communities

Long-term vegetation monitoring is essential to determine plant community health, ecosystem stability, and the effectiveness of management activities. Changes in the composition and structure of plant communities can indicate changing physical (e.g., soil, hydrology, nutrient processes) and biological (e.g., invasive plants, animals, insects, disease) conditions in the environment.

Because basic plant community measurements such as plant cover and density in an area are repeatable over time, the analysis of changing trends can help to determine the overall health of plant communities and habitat. These models enable National Park Service managers to modify management practices to ensure the long-term persistence of native ecosystems.

Focal plant communities include the wet forest at Hawaiʻi Volcanoes NP, Haleakalā NP, Kalaupapa NHP, and the NP of American Samoa; the coastal communities at Kalaupapa NHP and Kaloko-Honokōhau NHP; the subalpine shrublands of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes NP and Haleakalā NP; the limestone forest of War in the Pacific NHP; and the mangrove forest at American Memorial Park.

Monitoring Objectives

Determine the status and trends in plant community composition and structure at five-year intervals in five focal plant communities identified in park units in the Pacific islands. Specifically, plant community composition and structure will be measured in terms of vascular plant species diversity, cover, density (of woody species by height or size class), and frequency of encountering the species in the community.

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Last Updated: May 12, 2017 Contact Webmaster