Session: Vital Connections in Ecology: Maintaining Ecological Resilience 2
Restored waterbird habitat within cultural Hawaiian landscapes through Indigenous Resource Management
Monday, August 2, 2021
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Alishia Orloff and Kealoha Freidenburg, School of the Environment, Yale University, New Haven, CT, Yoshimi Rii, Heʻeia National Estuarine Research Reserve, Kaneohe, HI, Yoshimi Rii and Kawika Winter, Hawaiʻi Institute of Marine Biology, Kaneohe, HI, Kānekoa Kukea-Shultz, KākoʻoʻŌiwi, Kaneohe, HI
School of the Environment, Yale University New Haven, CT, USA
Background/Question/Methods Indigenous and local knowledge serves as a robust lens for sustainable ecosystem management and restoration. Through agro-ecological practices, Indigenous peoples of Hawaiʻi have developed comprehensively complex strategies and traditions for maintaining the resilience of wetland ecosystems. Traditional practices such as agro-ecological systems involving kalo (taro) has been exercised in Hawaiian wetlands for centuries particularly because of its capacity to optimize multiple wetland ecosystem services. While often underestimated, these longstanding connections and adaptive strategies are crucial in local bird conservation and water management efforts especially under current environmental pressures. In order to better understand the extent of local management approaches in maintaining ecosystem functioning on the Heʻeia National Estuarine Research Reserve, three management sites were surveyed for habitat structure, water quality, and waterbird utilization. Radial surveys (15 m) were conducted at 30 randomly selected point locations at two IRM sites, a hybrid managed wetland site, and an unmanaged control site. Results/Conclusions Explanatory factors of bird detections used in GLM analyses reveal that Managed agro-ecological lo'i sites are positively associated with waterbird detections. Additionally, individual bird species were associated with unique habitat features. Open water and understory canopy were the primary predictors of endangered waterbird detections in the wetlands. This data provides insights to habitat structure and function for the conservation of waterbirds that are maintained by Indigenous Resource Management. Recovery efforts of these species and integration of adaptive management perpetuate avenues for conservation and cultural revitalization. Ultimately Indigenous Resource Management presents a sustainable model for contemporary wetland management that values and maintains vital connections to the socio-ecological dimensions of our ecosystems.