Developing an agroforestry dashboard for the Marshall Islands

A variety of lush trees form an intergrown area.
An example of a Marshallese agroforest, with breadfruit, papaya, and coconut. (Photo: MHaws)

Agriculture and agroforestry (tree cultivation) are important activities for the Marshall Islands and other small islands to ensure food security and human health. The Marshallese have a long tradition of interplanting food-producing trees such as coconuts, breadfruit, and pandanus with bananas and root and vegetable crops. Locally grown food crops support community self-sufficiency, promote good nutrition, and can also serve as windbreaks and stabilize shorelines to lessen storm damage and erosion. However, climate change is posing serious challenges for growers, as they struggle to adapt to climate impacts including saltwater intrusion, changing precipitation and temperature patterns, and the spread of invasive species.

Six simple colored half-circle dials show rainfall, wind speed, and sea level conditions (normal, below, and above) for January and April 2017.
A screen shot of the website dashboard showing seasonal information.

The goal of this project was to provide Marshallese agricultural producers with information and resources that will help them adapt their growing practices to changing climate conditions. Researchers created a living website that provides clear, actionable farming information displayed in a dashboard format. Users can find information in English and Marshallese about seasonal rainfall, winds, and sea level as well as agricultural calendars based on El Niño/ La Niña. The website also provides facts on traditional growing practices and timings, crop tolerances, and nutrition. Pages can be downloaded, printed, and distributed by local agricultural extension services.

This project was implemented by Marshallese partners at the Ministry of Resources and Development, College of the Marshall Islands, and Land Grant program, and external partners from the University of Hawaiʻi, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service.





Maria Haws
Associate Professor of Aquaculture, UH Hilo


Jonathan Deenik
Soil Specialist, UH Mānoa
Kathleen Friday
Program Manager, USDA Forest Service
Anthony Ingersoll
Assistant Director for Technology, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Rebecca Lorennij
Secretary for the Ministry of Resource & Development, Republic of the Marshall Islands
Karl Fellenius
Extension Agent, College of the Marshall Islands
John Marra
Regional Climate Services Director for the Pacific Region, NOAA