Endangered Species in the Pacific Islands
The Lana‘i Plant Cluster Recovery Plan
Nine endangered plants found in dry and wet forests on the island of Lana‘i are covered in this plan. The primary reasons for the decline of all of these plants is habitat alteration by humans, either directly (conversion of habitat to agricultural use) or indirectly (introduction of alien species, erosion).
The Lana‘i Plant Cluster Recovery Plan summarizes available information about each plant, reviews the threats posed to their continued existence, and lists management actions that are needed to remove these threats.
The ultimate goal of this plan is to provide a framework for the eventual recovery of these nine plants to the extent possible, preferably so that their protection by the Endangered Species Act is no longer necessary.
Santalum freycinetianum -
Photo credit Marie Bruegmann/USFWS
Abutilon eremitopetalum, Cytandra munroi,and Abutilon menziesiiare are shrubs. Cyanea macrostegia ssp. gibsonii is a palm-like tree.Gahnia lanaiensis is a tall, grass-like plant and a member of the sedge family. Phyllostegia glabra var. lanaiensis is in the mint family and while no plants have been found recently,
it is believed that more plants remain in suitable habitat that is yet to be surveyed.
Habitat & Distribution:
These nine endangered plants are found in a variety of habitat, including dry, mesic, and wet forests; shrublands, and ridges.
Abutilon eremitopetalum, Cyanea macrostegia ssp. gibsonii, Gahnia lanaiensis, Phyllostegia glabra var.lanaiensis,and Viola lanaiensis are found only on Lana‘i.
Abutilon menziesii can be found on Hawai‘i, Maui, Lana‘i, and O‘ahu. Cytandra munroi and Santalum freycinetianum var. lanaiensis are found on Maui and Lana‘i. Tetramolopium remyi was found on Maui and Lana‘i but is believed to be extinct on Maui today.
The native vegetation of Lana‘i remained basically the same until the time of Captain James Cook's arrival. Animals (goats, sheep, and axis deer) introduced to the islands by westerners caused massive ecosystem deterioration. Only 2% of the dryland forest and only 30% of the cloud forest on the island remain due to years of land degradation.
Current threats to all the Lana‘i cluster include alien plants, insects, and mammals, and habitat alteration for development or agriculture. Additional factors threaten certain individual species and are detailed in the recovery plan.
In the first part of the 20th century, the family of Charles Gay led the way to eradicating the hoofed animals that were destroying the island's vegetation and began to fence the summit forest. Cattle were completely removed from the island in 1950, and goats were eradicated in 1981.
Seeds and/or plants of some of these species have been collected by the National Tropical Botanical Garden and Lyon Arboreteum, and are being grown and reintroduced for a habitat conservation plan on the island of O‘ahu.
All nine of the Lana‘i plant clusters are protected under Federal and State laws.