Hawaiian Forest Bird Conservation

Wednesday, September 28, 2022 from 2:00 – 3:30 PM HST

A Pacific RISCC Webinar via Zoom

Webinar overview:

A flyer of the Pacific RISCC webinar, Hawaiian Forest Bird ConservationClimate change and invasive species are impacting the forest birds of Hawaiʻi — what can we do?

The next Pacific RISCC  Webinar, “Hawaiian Forest Bird Conservation”, will feature Megan Laut and Stanton Enomoto, who will be presenting two talks that address the impacts of climate change and invasive species on forest birds, and what conservation efforts can be done.

Speaker details:

Megan Laut: Hawaiian Forest Bird Extinction Crisis: Causes and Management Alternatives

Hawaii’s endemic forest birds are facing an extinction crisis. Avian malaria, a disease transmitted by invasive mosquitoes, is driving their extinction – for some species, a single bite by an infected mosquito can kill. As climate change accelerates, mosquitoes are expanding their range into upper elevation forests, threatening what little safe habitat these birds have left. Four species are on the brink of extinction, and the biologists that manage them agree that without conservation actions to address disease mortality, these species have a high probability of going extinct within several years. To help evaluate alternative conservation strategies for minimizing the risk of extinction, we convened experts with broad experience in Hawaiʻi forest birds and ecosystems, as well as the management approaches being considered, to assess the probability of success of alternative management actions. The three alternative management actions being considered to prevent the extinction of forest birds from disease are (1) landscape-level mosquito control through the Wolbachia Incompatible Insect Technique, (2) captive care, and (3) conservation translocations. This presentation will summarize the findings from the elicitation and action taken to date.

Megan Laut is the Recovery Program Manager at the USFWS Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office in Honolulu. Her team is responsible for identifying needs and implementing recovery related actions for 543 species listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Megan has worked at the Service for fifteen years, and has spent the entirety of her career working on Hawaiʻi and the Pacific’s most vulnerable species.

Stanton Enomoto: Biocultural Considerations for Hawaiian Forest Bird Conservation

This presentation seeks to provide a biocultural context for the conservation of endemic Hawaiian forest birds at risk of extinction due to climate change and disease transmitted by invasive species.  In 2021, U.S. Department of the Interior bureaus in Hawaiʻi endeavored to approach forest bird conservation in a more comprehensive and respectful manner.  Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners and subject matter experts were convened to better understand the cultural connection and relationship Native Hawaiians have with endemic and native species and their habitats across Hawaiʻi.  Proposed forest bird conservation actions were also presented and discussed.  Perspectives and input received was used to establish a  more culturally-appropriate approach and to develop strategies that integrate Native Hawaiian biocultural knowledge and practices into the planning and implementation of the conservation actions.  The goals of which are to increase the efficacy of conservation efforts and to sustain the connectivity and relationship between Native Hawaiians and endemic forest birds and their habitat.

Stanton Enomoto is the Senior Program Director for the U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of Native Hawaiian Relations. Based in Honolulu, he started in this position in 2016 and serves as the office lead to oversee the management of the Department’s work with the Native Hawaiian Community. Stanton has over 30 years of government and private sector experience in Native Hawaiian cultural affairs, policy, planning, and resource management in Hawaiʻi.

Additional Resources

For a USGS News Report about the recent HCSU technical report “Hawaiian Forest Bird Conservation Strategies for Minimizing the Risk of Extinction: Biological and Biocultural Considerations”, with link to the report (HCSU-103), head over to the USGS page.

Seminar Recording