Identifying opportunities for long-lasting habitat conservation and restoration in Hawaii’s shifting climate

  • Lucas B. Fortini
  • James D. Jacobi
Original Article


Conservation efforts in isolated archipelagos such as Hawaii often focus on habitat-based conservation and restoration efforts that benefit multiple species. Unfortunately, identifying locations where such efforts are safer from climatic shifts is still challenging. We aimed to provide a method to approximate these potential habitat shifts for similar data- and research-limited contexts. We modeled the relationship between climate and the potential distribution of native biomes across the Hawaiian archipelago to provide a first approximation of potential native biome shifts under end-of-century projected climate. Our correlative model circumvents the lack of data necessary for the parameterization of mechanistic vegetation models in isolated and data-poor islands. We identified locations consistently expected to remain the same in terms of the native biome compatibility by the end of the century with a robust evaluation of sources of uncertainty in our projections. Our results show that, despite large differences in climate projections considered, 35% of the areas considered are consistently projected to maintain their current compatibility to native biomes. By integrating our native biome compatibility projections with maps of current actual cover, we identified areas ideal for long-term habitat conservation and restoration. Our modeling approach can be used with relatively simple data; offers multiple forms of projection confidence estimates, model calibration, and variable selection routines; and is compatible with ensemble projections. This method is not only applicable to potential native cover, as done in this study, but to any set of vegetation classes that are related to environmental predictors available for modeling.


Vegetation modeling Climate change Habitat prioritization Correlative models Nested multi-class landscape model 



We are grateful for the support of the U.S. Geological Survey Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center and the Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative. We thank the comments and suggestions by Jeff Burgett, Lauren Kaiser, Julia Rowe and our anonymous journal reviewers. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Supplementary material

10113_2018_1342_MOESM1_ESM.docx (4.5 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 4634 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pacific Island Ecosystems Research CenterU.S. Geological SurveyHonoluluUSA
  2. 2.Pacific Island Climate Change CooperativeHonoluluUSA

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