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Hawaiian Islands Climate Synthesis Project

The Hawaiian Islands encompass a dynamic region featuring iconic habitats and species at risk from a number of stresses. Climate change impacts, coupled with land use changes, invasive species spread, and population growth and development, all have important implications for the ecosystem services upon which over 1.4 million people rely. The goal of this project is to develop science-based syntheses of climate impacts on and adaptation options for terrestrial and freshwater resources of the main Hawaiian Islands. This project brings together Hawaii’s resource managers and conservation planners to discuss these challenges, share knowledge, identify needs, and prioritize key actions to reduce the vulnerability of resources to climate change. Through interviews, literature reviews, expert elicitation, vulnerability mapping, and on-island workshops, this project will provide information that will improve understanding of and capacity to reduce the effects of climate change on key resources; identify opportunities for minimizing climate-related losses through management and collaboration; and create products to facilitate decision-making by land managers.


Why Did We Undertake This Work?

The Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative has initiated a multi-year Hawaiian Islands Terrestrial Adaptation Initiative (HITAI) to assist managers in all aspects of confronting the challenges presented by climate change. To place this Initiative on a firm scientific foundation, the PICCC asked EcoAdapt to develop comprehensive, science-based syntheses of current and projected future climate change and impacts on, and adaptation options for, terrestrial and freshwater resources within each of the main Hawaiian Islands.


Why is EcoAdapt Uniquely Qualified to Take This Work On?

EcoAdapt provides assistance throughout the entire climate adaptation process, from assessing the effects of climate change and developing adaptation plans to implementation and evaluation. We focus on a solutions-oriented approach wherein assessment of climate impacts is important but identifying vulnerabilities and constructing viable strategies to reduce these vulnerabilities is paramount. 


  • Convene an effective science-management partnership to evaluate climate impacts to and adaptation options for focal resources;
  • Identify climate science available to and used by managers and conservation planners, as well as critical needs and gaps that may be filled by this project;
  • Identify and synthesize best available climate science to support reliable and timely decision making and stewardship;
  • Increase understanding of the climate-related vulnerabilities of key resources of the main Hawaiian Islands, in addition to the compounding effects of non-climatic stressors;
  • Facilitate the creation of adaptation options to reduce these vulnerabilities; and
  • Create a climate-engaged public that can make informed decisions to support sustainable management of terrestrial and freshwater resources. 

September 2015 - September 2017

Vulnerability Assessment and Scenario Planning Workshops
  • Maui (August 2016; includes Maui, Lānaʻi, and Kaho'olawe)
  • O'ahu (December 2016)
  • Kaua'i (January 2017)
  • Hawai'i (January 2017)
Climate Adaptation Planning Workshops
  • Maui (April 2017; includes Maui, Lānaʻi, and Kaho'olawe
  • Moloka'i (April 2017)
  • O'ahu (April 2017)
  • Kaua'i (June 2017)
  • Hawai'i (June 2017)
Project Partners

Stakeholder Working Group
Scott Fretz, DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife
Skippy Hau, DLNR Division of Aquatic Resources
Pōmaika’i Kaniaupio-Crozier, Pu‘u Kukui Watershed Preserve
Erica von Allmen, Auwahi Forest Restoration Project
Rhonda Loh, National Park Service
Colleen Cole, Three Mountain Alliance
Susan Cordell, USFS Pacific Southwest Research Station
Jim Kraus, Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge
Trae Menard, The Nature Conservancy
Paul Higashino, Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission
Victoria Keener, East-West Center
Jason Jeremiah, Kamehameha Schools
Megan Laut, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Matt Brown, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Dennis LaPointe, U.S. Geological Survey, Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center
Ed Misaki, The Nature Conservancy
Kapua Kawelo, Army Natural Resource Program
Leah Laramee, DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife
Sherri Mann, DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife
Darcy Hu, Hawai'i-Pacific Islands Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit
Vickie Caraway, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

For more information, contact Rachel M. Gregg at