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The Hawaii Permanent Plot Network (HIPPNET) was initiated in 2007 by faculty and research ecologists at the University of Hawaii, USDA Forest Service, and UCLA to investigate forest dynamics across the Island of Hawaii.  Our long-term goal is to establish several large-scale, permanent plots in native-dominated forest across elevation and precipitation gradients throughout the Hawaiian Islands.  Long-term forest dynamics plots have been established worldwide; these plots establish Hawaii as part of the Center for Tropical Forest Science (CTFS) network (www.ctfs.si.edu).

We have begun the network with two 4-ha plots on the Island of HawaiiFour plots have been established: the Laupāhoehoe plot represents montane wet forest, the Palamanui plot represents lowland dry forest, the Mamalahoa plot represents Ohia dominated dry forest, and the Sanctuary plot at Puʻu Waʻawaʻa represents montane mesic forest.  In keeping with protocols used for creating permanent plots in temperate and tropical forests worldwide, all of the plots will be located in areas with good access, strong commitment from landholders and local communities toward conservation, and high native species cover. The permanent plots are established following widely used protocols developed for tropical and temperate forests by the Center for Tropical Forest Science.  Within each plot all free-standing native woody plants ≥1 cm in diameter are tagged and mapped.  The forest plots will be re-censused every 5 years. The data collected through coordinated projects carried out at the HIPPNET sites will enable the University of Hawaii and collaborators to become leaders in numerous important areas of ecology and will add substantially to our understanding of forest dynamics.

HIPPNET focal research areas:

  • HIPPNET Researches in the fieldGlobal change (i.e., climate impacts, community dynamics, invasive species)
  • Ecohydrololgy (linkages between forest-water-atmosphere)
  • Ecosystem services (services vital to our economy and well being including many biological, aesthetic, and cultural values)
  • Remote sensing (modeling of ecosystem dynamics)
  • Restoration (returning an ecosystem to its historic trajectory)
  • Comparative forest ecology (comparing Hawaii's forests with tropical and temperate forests around the world)
  • Community structure and organization
  • Population genetics and evolutionary ecology of forest plants
  • Biogeochemical processes

Support for the project has been provided by NSF EPSCoR (Grant No. 0554657) as well as the USDA Forest Service, the University of Hawaii, and the University of California, Los Angeles (NSF Grant No. 0546784).

University of Hawaii at Hilo National Science Foundation EPSCoR Hawaii Hawaii Experimental Tropical Forest USDA Research and Development Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute Center for Tropical Forest Science Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry Pacific Southwest Research Station