Recent Activities of the PABITRA Network in the Ecosystem Division of the PSA Task Force on Biodiversity (D. Mueller-Dombois)

Year 2000

A PABITRA workshop was held during the 43rd Symposium of the International Association of Vegetation Science (IAVS) in Nagano, Japan, July 23-28, 2000.The PABITRA theme was Tasks of Vegetation Ecology in the PABITRA Net (the Pacific-Asia Biodiversity Transect Network).

The introduction to the workshop was given during a plenary session by Dieter Mueller-Dombois.Subsequently, the workshop had a large sustained audience.The workshop was divided into five sub-themes with speakers and topics as follows:

IAssessment and monitoring of plant biodiversity in the Pacific islands

1.Curtis C. Daehler, Honolulu

Recent vegetation change in dry, leeward habitats of the Hawaiian Islands, the northern outliers of PABITRA

2.Jean-Yves Meyer, Papeete, Tahiti

Invasive plants in native forests of Eastern Polynesia, the eastern outliers of PABITRA

3.Syuzo Itow, Nagasaki

A simple method to measure plant biodiversity across the PABITRA islands

4.Michael Kiehn with Tod Stuessy and Josef Greimler, Vienna, Austria

PABITRA related studies on Robinson Crusoe Island

5.Randy R. Thaman, Suva, Fiji

The PABITRA Gateway site in Fiji

IIAnalysis of human relationships to island biodiversity

6.Will McClatchey with Myknee Siricolo, Honolulu and Solomon Islands

PABITRA monitoring of biodiversity with ethnobotanical documentation in the western Solomon Islands

7.Harley I. Manner, Mangilao, Guam

Traditional agricultural systems and biodiversity in the Pacific islands, a PABITRA perspective

8.Randy R. Thaman, Suva, Fiji

Biodiversity in human support systems of the Pacific islands

III.Analysis of freshwater flow, its relation to island biodiversity and ecosystem


9. James O. Juvik, Hilo, Hawai`i

Integrated watershed and biodiversity management for PABITRA sites: monitoring topo-climatic gradients

10. Christoph Leuschner, Goettingen, Germany (abstract only)

Functional roles of biodiversity in PABITRA watersheds using horizontal gradients (the BIOGRASP approach)

IV. Historical perspectives on island biodiversity

11. Richard Pott, Hannover, Germany

Interactions between climate and human impacts: a paleoecological approach to the study of biodiversity evolution in the Canary Islands

12. Michael Kiehn, Vienna, Austria

The genus Cyrtandra (Gesneraceae): its indicator potential for assessing the health of PABITRA forests

V. Coordination of PABITRA project

13. Kent W. Bridges, Honolulu

Support of multidisciplinary ecosystem studies with Internet-based integrative techniques

14. Dieter Mueller-Dombois, Honolulu

Methods to initiate PABITRA field work for IBOY 2001

The workshop mode of the PABITRA session was informal, and provoked much discussion. Abstracts are published in the IAVS 2000 Abstract book by the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology, Yokohama National University, Yokohama 240-8501, Japan.

A Hawai`i PABITRA field meeting to sites on four islands in late September 2000 was followed by a PABITRA field meeting in Fiji during the first week of October 2000.Involved were four members of the Geobotanical Institute at the University Hannover, Germany, a PABITRA partnership institute.The field meeting in Hawai`i was organized by Dieter Mueller-Dombois with support of Hawai`i PABITRA members Jim Jacobi, Jim and Sonja Juvik, Lloyd Loope, and Curt Daehler.The field meeting in Fiji was organized by Randy Thaman with support from Marika Tuiwawa, Semi Duabe, and Gunnar Keppel.The Fiji field meeting was an exploratory trip for establishing the PABITRA Gateway site on Viti Levu.We visited coastal habitats and two offshore islands near the mouth of the Rewa River, and also agro-ecosystems inland up to near Vunidawa.Because of the recent political instability in Fiji, our field trip was diverted from there to Nadi.We made a trip to Mt. Koroyanitu and some of us drove to Navai Village near Mt. Tomaniivi.Here, following a kawa ceremony with the villagers, we received permission and future support for the PABITRA partnership team (University of the South Pacific University of Hawai'i Botany Department University of Hannover Geobotanical Institute) to do research in the upland watershed forest of the Mabu Catchment.

November 2000 A three-day joint DIWPA-PABITRA workshop took place in Seta, Japan.The objective was to discuss the Implementation of IBOY (the International Biodiversity Observation Year).Four PABITRA members participated as invitees, Curtis Daehler, Jim Juvik, Marika Tuiwawa, and Dieter Mueller-Dombois.At this time, we decided on a phase I strategy to reduce the formerly proposed 20 transect sites to four core sites (Fiji, Hawai`i, Taiwan and Borneo) and five satellite sites (Pohnpei, Samoa, Marquesas, Solomon Islands).Following that meeting, an updated version of an island ecosystem manual titled "Research Methods to Initiate PABITRA" was submitted to the DIWPA office at Kyoto University for publication in the revised Protocol Manual for IBOY-DIWPA.

Year 2001

A second PABITRA field meeting took place in February 2001.Marika Tuiwawa, Curator of the Fiji Herbarium, had organized a PABITRA team to start forest vegetation research in the Mabu Catchment.I had a chance to join up with that group and we spent a day of reconnaissance and plant collecting in the Mabu Catchment.On a following day, we made a mock plot in a forest near Navai Village to try out two types of sample plot procedures (count-plots and relev¾s).

The most recent PABITRA activity was a 5th symposium/workshop in Guam during the 10th Pacific Science Inter-Congress in Guam, June 1-6, 2001.The session topic was Biodiversity: Science for Ecosystem Conservation in the PABITRA Net: Tasks accomplished for IBOY 2001.

Papers presented were:

1.Dieter Mueller-Dombois, Honolulu

Biodiversity Assessment in Tropical Island Ecosystems: The PABITRA Approach

2.Jim Juvik, Hilo, Hawai`i, with Jesse Liwai and John Delay

The Climate and Hydrology of Tropical Montane Cloud Forests: Measurement and Characterization of Ecosystem Services at PABITRA Sites

3.Marika Tuiwawa, Fiji

The Vegetation Ecology of Waisoi: A Pristine Rain Forest in SE Viti Levu, Fiji

4.Kathy Ewel, USDA Forest Service, Honolulu with W. M. Drew, R. L. Naylor, and A. Sigrah

Importance of a Tropical Freshwater Wetland

5.Mike Fitzsimons, Louisiana State University with Bob Nishimoto, Division of Aquatic Resources, Hawai`i

Methods for Analyzing Freshwater Stream Ecosystems on Oceanic Islands of the Tropical Pacific

6.Jim Jacobi, USGS, Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center

Resource Mapping and Analysis Using GIS

7.Yoshikazu Shimizu, Komazawa University, Japan

The Polynesian Elements in the Bonin Islands

8.Syuzo Itow, Nagasaki University, Japan

Effects of Rainshadows and Volcanological Ages on Galapagos Vegetation Zonation

9.Alan Tye, Botany Department, Charles Darwin Research Station, Ecuador

Assessing and Monitoring the Status of Endemic Plants in the Galapagos Islands

10.Curtis Daehler, University Hawai`i Botany Department

Measuring the Degree of Ecosystem Invasion by Alien Pest Plants

11.Marika Tuiwawa with Bill Aalbersberg, University of the South Pacific, Institute of Applied Science

Conservation and Management Plan for the Threatened and Unique Plants in a Rain Forest of SE Viti Levu, Fiji

12.Harley Manner, University of Guam

Concluding Remarks with Reference to Agroecosystems

Abstracts are published in the Proceedings book "The Integration of Natural and Social Sciences in the New Pacific Millennium" 2001.Guam Graduate School of Research and Pacific Science Association.

Currently, 14 PABITRA members are engaged in writing a manual for "Assessing Biodiversity in Tropical Island Ecosystems", in part based on what was presented in Guam and previous workshops.

Summary of Main Events including Background

1994September: International Forum on DIVERSITAS in Paris, held by IUBS/UNESCO with support of other international science organizations (SCOPE, ICSU, IGBP, GCTE, IUMS).The DIWPA Network (DIVERSITAS in Western Pacific and Asia), was then initiated by members of the Ecological Research Center at Kyoto University.Dieter Mueller-Dombois was invited to be a member of the DIWPA Steering Committee.

1995December: DIWPA Symposium in Singapore on "Biodiversity and the Dynamics of Ecosystems."Published 1996 as DIWPA Series Volume 1.Island ecosystems were included with a paper on "Research hypotheses for DIWPA cooperation" (by Dieter Mueller-Dombois and Kanehiro Kitayama).

1996June: Eighths Pacific Science Inter-Congress in Fiji.A special workshop was held to establish a Biodiversity Transect across the Pacific high-island archipelagoes for a comparative study of their indigenous watershed forests.

1997November: Joint IUBS General Assembly and DIWPA workshop in Taipei.The PABITRA concept was presented and published as "Plant biodiversity in tropical ecosystems across the Asia-Pacific region.Pages 105-113 in Frontiers in Biology: the Challenges of Biodiversity, Biotechnology, and Sustainable Agriculture.Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.1998.

At this time, the Director of DIWPA, Professor H. Kawanabe, suggested that PABITRA become a sister network of DIWPA.

1998November: Ninth Pacific Science Inter-Congress in Taipei.Second PABITRA workshop with focus on site selection criteria and a list of proposed PABITRA islands.Published subsequently as "The Pacific-Asia Biodiversity Transect (PABITRA): A New Conservation Biology Initiative" pages 13-20 in Biodiversity and Allelopathy: From Organisms to Ecosystems in the Pacific.Academia Sinica, Taipei.1999.

1999July: Nineteenth Pacific Science Congress in Sydney.Third PABITRA workshop on "Preliminary site descriptions and projects for PABITRA."Preceding this Congress was a one-day joint DIWPA/PABITRA workshop in Sydney on developing a coordinated research protocol manual for IBOY 2001.

2000July: Fourth PABITRA workshop at IAVS Symposium in Nagano with focus on "Tasks for Vegetation Ecology in the PABITRA Net."(As outlined above).

2001June: Fifth PABITRA workshop at 10th Pacific Science Inter-Congress in Guam with PABITRA focus on methodology and ecosystem interaction.A new leading PABITRA topic emerged as "The Ecology of Landscape Disturbance in Oceania: From Cloud Forest to Coral Reef ." 

A next event will be the GBF-Pacific Regional Session, the first Global Biodiversity Forum for the Pacific.This will take place at the East-West Center in Honolulu, 25-28 September 2001.Several PABITRA members have submitted abstracts for this important international conference.

Also in consideration: A third PABITRA field meeting in Fiji in early November, following the SPREP/Nature Conservancy Round Table Meeting from October 28 to November 3.

2003: For the Pacific Science Congress in Bangkok, 17-21 March 2003, the main PABITRA theme suggested is "The Ecology of Landscape Disturbance in Oceania and its Impact on the Traditional Human Support System."

At that event, Dieter Mueller-Dombois will transfer the Chair of the PSA Ecosystem Division and PABITRA Network to Curtis C. Daehler, Associate Professor of Botany, University of Hawai`i at Manoa.