Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office
Pacific Region

Endangered Species in the Pacific Islands

The Multi-island Plant Cluster Recovery Plan

Photo of Sesbania tomentosa

The 12 endangered plants covered in this plan are found scattered across the Hawaiian Islands chain. These plants grow in a wide range of vegetation communities (grasslands, shrublands, and forests), elevations, and moisture levels. In addition, 10 species known from the Maui Nui island complex (Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i, and Kaho‘olawe) were added in the addendum to this plan in 2002.

Like other native plants found elsewhere in the State, these plants are threatened by factors such as habitat alteration by humans, predation by feral or domestic animals (goats and pigs), and alien vegetation. The Multi-Island 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.

Sesbania tomentosa - Photo credit DaveHopper/USFWS

The ultimate goal of this plan is to provide a framework for the eventual recovery of these plants to the extent possible, preferably so that their protection by the Endangered Species Act is no longer necessary.

Habitat & Distribution:
There are nearly 100 native vegetation community types in the Hawaiian Islands. Major vegetation formations include forests, woodlands, shrublands, grasslands, herblands, and pioneer associations on lava and cinder substrates.

The plant species in this recovery plan have been reported from lowland forest habitat, montane mesic and dry forest habitats, montane wet forest habitat, wet montane shrublands, and coastal and lowland grasslands.

Their historical and current distribution averages 6 islands for each species. All of them are now found on 1 or more of the 8 main Hawaiian Islands, and 2 of the species are also found on 1 or more of 3 Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

Several botanical gardens and mid-elevation rare plant facilities store and propagate Multi-island
cluster species and many other endangered and threatened plants.

The native vegetation on all of the main Hawaiian Islands has undergone extreme alterations because of past and present land management practices, including deliberate and accidental alien plant and animal introductions, agricultural development, military use, and recreation use. The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands have undergone similar alteration, but to a lesser degree. The primary threats facing the species are ongoing and threatened destruction and adverse modification of habitat by feral animals and competition with alien plants. Threats for each species is included in the recovery plan.

Those species growing on National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands have benefitted from ongoing management programs, which include alien species control, fire control, research, and species-specific management.

Some of the plants in this recovery plan are located on U. S. Army lands on O‘ahu and the island of Hawai‘i. The Army has put together draft management plans to help protect these endangered plants on their lands.


Last updated: September 20, 2012
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