Prioritizing Hawaii’s Stream Habitats to Conserve Native Species with Changing Climate
Ralph W. Tingley III, Dana M. Infante, Wesley M. Daniel, Arthur R. Cooper, Gordon C. Smith, and Kyle Herreman
Abstract.—Decision makers are increasingly tasked with developing conservation strategies that incorporate information on current human threats along with projected influences of climate change. In this study, we integrated a current stream habitat condition assessment of the five largest Hawaiian Islands, with information on ecological stream characteristics and projected change in rainfall to support proactive stream conservation. We used the software Zonation to identify reaches of high conservation value, given both current conditions and projected changes in climate. The results of the spatial prioritization show that low-elevation stream reaches with high potential for supporting multiple species and limited current human disturbance may be especially valuable to conservation. In addition, leeward-draining streams may lose value due to reductions in rainfall, underscoring the importance of managing stream base flow in these areas to conserve native stream organisms. Our results provide guidance for conservation planning in Hawaii and highlight the relevance of regionwide assessments when planning proactive management strategies.