RESEARCH

SCIENCE AGENDA

PI-CASC Five-year Science Agenda

In general, our organizational science agenda is aligned with agency and department priorities, and is central to informing investment in research and training for climate adaptation in the region. In 2013, PI-CASC developed its first 5-year science plan, called the 5-year Science Agenda, which spanned the first host agreement timeframe from 2014 to 2018. The PI-CASC has subsequently continued to work with its stakeholders, science advisors, and agency guidance to update its priorities with our new host agreement. The new science themes and focus areas guiding our research funding decisions are presented in our current Science Agenda for 2018-2022:

Theme 1: Drought in the Pacific Islands

Drought has the potential for wise-spread effects, reducing quality of life and impacting agriculture and unique native ecosystems throughout Hawaiʻi and the Pacific Islands. As drought events become more severe, human communities can learn to adapt, but to help ecosystems adapt, managers have additional challenge of understanding the drought tolerance of species and forest community structures to learn how to increase resilience and sustain biodiversity and society.

FOCUS AREAS
Ecohydrology and Watershed Services
Drought, Fire, and Landscape Change
Indigenous Agroforestry and Aquaculture Systems

Theme 2: Coastal Adaptation & Planning

Managers of coastal communities and natural areas seek to develop adaptation strategies that address the environmental impacts of changing sea levels, while ensuring that adaptation plans are consistent (spatially and temporally) with the planning horizons and jurisdictional purview of organizations addressing climate change.

FOCUS AREAS
Coastal Cultural Heritage Sites
Effective Community Adaptation Planning
Ridge-to-Reef and Brackish Systems

Theme 3: Forest Conservation in a Changing Environment

To manage protected terrestrial areas and species, as well as biocultural resources and practices, managers seek to understand how forest resource abundance, distribution, and ecological interactions could be affected by changes in environmental drivers, to better identify adaptation and resilience strategies appropriate for individual sites or for larger-scale applications.

FOCUS AREAS
Changing Plant Communities in Forests and Woodlands
Managing Wildlife in Forest Habitats
Indigenous Stewardship of Forests and Woodlands

Theme 4: Core Questions for Resource Managers

Grappling with climate change poses a challenging set of questions for managers of fish, wildlife, and habitat, only adding to other long-standing and complex management issues that have more immediate impacts (e.g., invasive weeds, predation on protected species, etc.). Thus, managers seek to incorporate climate change as a new stressor into their existing management frameworks, hoping to align climate science, ecological science, and resource management to the same time and spatial scales to determine the most vulnerable ecosystem factors.

FOCUS AREAS
Adaptation Decisions for Low Likelihood/High Risk Future Scenarios
Testing and Evaluating Model Predictions
Assessing Risk across Multiple Time Frames: What Must Happen Now?

Theme 5: Adaptation and Survival in Low Islands and Atolls

For communities and ecosystems on low islands or atolls, climate impacts are so immediate and extensive that adaptation is essentially equal to survival, affecting food and freshwater security and livelihoods. Yet, such adaptation is a particularly complex challenge with technical limitations, the intricate interaction of coastal, freshwater, and terrestrial systems, and the limited potential options for adaptation. Government officials seek to understand and anticipate potential human population displacement as a result of climate-related ocean inundation, to develop programs to transition the displaced, and to develop means to preserve cultural identity.

FOCUS AREAS
Coastal Flooding/Infiltration, Freshwater, and Food Security
Timelines for Critical Habitability Decisions
Adapting Agroforestry to Projected Future Conditions