When Climate Change and Invasive Species Intersect:

Identifying Fire-Promoting Invasive Plants & Their Potential to Impact Hawai`i’s Natural & Cultural Resources

Tuesday, March 22, 2022 from 2:00 – 3:00 PM HST

Virtually on Zoom

Webinar overview:

How do fire-promoting invasive plants alter the way we manage our natural and cultural resources?

Flyer for Weed Risk Assessment webinar, see details to leftCheck out Pacific RISCC webinar below on the process of identifying fire-promoting invasive plants and their impacts in Hawaiʻi with speakers Kevin Faccenda (UH Mānoa) and Kelsey Brock (UH Mānoa).

Across the Pacific, wildfire poses a major threat to biological and cultural resources, and the threat is only predicted to become larger with climate change. In this talk, graduate students Kevin Faccenda and Kelsey Brock discuss a new tool and methodology for predicting the fire risk of invasive species before they enter a region so that management efforts can be focused on the highest risk incipient species.

This tool uses data collected from the primary literature as well as a machine learning model trained on expert survey data to predict fire risk. Their team examined this risk in a spatial context by modeling the distribution of multiple invasive plants and climatic conditions that promote wildfire across the main Hawaiian Islands. Models were created based on current-day climate conditions as well potential conditions at the end of the century to under climate change.

From there, they calculated an index that integrates three factors:

  1. Probability of occurrence for 10 fire-promoting invasive plants in Hawaiʻi (based on known occurrences and associated environmental conditions)
  2. Fire risk score of each species, which is predicted using the aforementioned tool
  3. Modeled potential for future wildfires based on historic fire locations in Hawaiʻi.

A map displaying these index values was created for both current and future climates and was compared to locations of critical habitat and cultural resources to understand the danger of these high-value resources being burned and furthermore, whether the spatial extent of wildfire-prone areas is expected to increase as the climate changes. Managers may use these findings to prioritize resources for fire protection, and because some of the modeled plants are considered recent invaders, these species may be candidates for eradication.

Webinar recordings

PART I: Weed Fire Risk Assessment Tool: A hands-on webinar for land managers & owners

PART II: Identifying Fire Promoting Invasive Plants & Their Potential to Impact Hawaiʻi’s Natural & Cultural Resources

Webinar Resources