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The Pacific Ocean is home to a number of low-lying, coastal national parks and wildlife refuges. These public lands are situated on coral reef-lined islands that are susceptible to inundation from sea-level rise and flooding during storms. Because of their low-lying nature and limited availability of space, ecosystems, cultural resources, and infrastructure on these islands are particularly vulnerable to flooding. Sea-level rise will further exacerbate the impact of storms on island parks and refuges by increasing wave-driven coastal flooding, with consequences for ecological and human communities alike. However, most assessments of future conditions at coastal national parks and refuges consider only permanent...
Mangrove forests are likely vulnerable to accelerating sea-level rise; however, we lack the tools necessary to understand their future resilience. On the Pacific island of Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, mangroves are habitat to endangered species and provide critical ecosystem services that support local communities. We developed a generalizable modeling framework for mangroves that accounts for species interactions and the belowground processes that dictate soil elevation. The modeling framework was calibrated with extensive field datasets, including accretion rates derived from thirty 1-meter-deep soil cores dated with lead-210, more than 300 forest inventory plots, water-level monitoring, and differential...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
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The threat of rising sea levels to island communities is well known. However, sea-level rise projections are often depicted in ways that are not intuitive or directly applicable to community members and resource managers who most need the information. Scientific information about sea-level rise needs to be presented in a way that effectively communicates the very real risk posed to coastal communities, infrastructure, and cultural assets. This project builds upon data developed through previous USGS Pacific Islands CASC work. It goes beyond simple sea-level rise visualizations and leverages the ever-growing computational power of modern smart devices to provide interactive and immersive outreach materials through...
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Sea-level rise will eventually flood and kill many coastal mangrove trees. The loss of mangrove forests will strongly affect human populations on isolated western Pacific islands as they rely heavily on mangroves for food, such as fish, shrimp, and crabs; building materials; and fire wood. Mangroves also shelter coastal communities from the impacts of tsunamis and cyclones, are home to endangered species such as the Yapese monarch and flying fox, and remove and store CO2 from the atmosphere. In the past, mangroves have adjusted to sea-level rise through tree root growth and the accumulation of sediments from rivers and oceans, processes which allow them to maintain their forest floor elevation relative to sea level....
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Drought events have cost the U.S. nearly $245 billion since 1980, with costs ranging from $2 to $44 billion in any given year. However, these socio-economic losses are not the only impacts of drought. Ecosystems, fish, wildlife, and plants also suffer, and these types of drought impacts are becoming more commonplace. Further, ecosystems that recover from drought are now doing so under different climate conditions than they have experienced in the past few centuries. As temperature and precipitation patterns change, “transformational drought”, or drought events that can permanently and irreversibly alter ecosystems – such as forests converting to grasslands – are a growing threat. This type of drought has cascading...
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2018 was a record-breaking year for wildfires in Hawai‘i with over 30,000 acres burned statewide, including the habitat of the Oʻahu chewstick, a critically endangered flowering plant with less than 50 individuals remaining. The frequency and severity of wildfire in Hawai‘i has been increasing, and this trend is predicted to worsen with climate change. Wildfires are promoted by highly flammable invasive plants, which can spread across the landscape, providing a widespread fuel source to feed large fires that are hard to control. However, different plant species vary in their flammability, so wildfire risk depends not only on climate, but also on which plants are present. A major concern is that new non-native plants...


map background search result map search result map State of the Science Synthesis on Transformational Drought: Understanding Drought’s Potential to Transform Ecosystems Across the Country Predicting the Effects of Climate Change on the Spread of Fire-Promoting Plants in Hawai‘i: Assessing Emerging Threats to Rare Native Plants and Ecosystems The Impact of Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise on Future Flooding of Coastal Parks and Refuges in Hawaiʻi and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands The Future Resiliency of Mangrove Forests to Sea-Level Rise in the Western Pacific: Initiating a National Assessment Approach Visualizing Sea-level Rise at Puʻuhonua O Hōnaunau National Historic Park with Interactive, Virtual Technology (A Prototype Augmented-Reality Mobile-Phone Application) Visualizing Sea-level Rise at Puʻuhonua O Hōnaunau National Historic Park with Interactive, Virtual Technology (A Prototype Augmented-Reality Mobile-Phone Application) The Future Resiliency of Mangrove Forests to Sea-Level Rise in the Western Pacific: Initiating a National Assessment Approach Predicting the Effects of Climate Change on the Spread of Fire-Promoting Plants in Hawai‘i: Assessing Emerging Threats to Rare Native Plants and Ecosystems The Impact of Climate Change and Sea-Level Rise on Future Flooding of Coastal Parks and Refuges in Hawaiʻi and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands State of the Science Synthesis on Transformational Drought: Understanding Drought’s Potential to Transform Ecosystems Across the Country