Our Mission:

In order to effectively conserve and manage forests to enhance their resiliency and predict their future structure and function in light of these drivers of change, forest managers need to understand how forests respond to spatial and temporal environmental variation. The Hawaii Permanent Plot Network (HIPPNET) was established in 2007 with the goal of advancing understanding of the composition, structure, and function of forest ecosystems in Hawaii over time through regular, rigorous, detailed, standardized, and long-term measurement of vegetation paired with detailed measurements of above canopy, within canopy and below canopy climate variables. This research occurs at two Center for Tropical Forest Science forest dynamics plots (CTFS FDPs) on the Island of Hawaii, as well as a series of smaller plots that take advantage of and are located across the steep environmental gradients common to Pacific high islands. The two CTFS FDPs are four hectares in size, and are located in Laupāhoehoe (Tropical Montane Wet Forest) and Pālamanui (Tropical Lowland Dry Forest). Additional, smaller plots are located in montane mesic and lowland woodland ecosystems, and across a 5.2°C mean annual temperature gradient in tropical montane wet forest.  Collectively, these plots contribute to: 1) local understanding of how climate drives forest dynamics in contrasting ecosystems; 2) regional understanding of drivers of forest dynamics that are needed to inform management and conservation of Hawaii’s threatened native forests; and 3) global understanding of forest dynamics through largescale syntheses of data from across the CTFS’s Global Ecological Observatory spanning tropical, temperate and boreal forests. In addition to the basic and applied science conducted in these plots, this project supports postdoctoral scientists, graduate and undergraduate students, and field technicians who are exposed to research skills, varied learning opportunities, and real-world professional experiences.