New study warns biodiversity of plants, animals in Hawaii are in jeopardy

Iiwi bird, a type of Hawaiian honeycreeper
Iiwi bird, a type of Hawaiian honeycreeper(Jack Jeffrey Photography)
Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 7:42 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A new study about the loss of biodiversity in island regions is highlighting the urgent need for more action to protect Hawaii’s unique ecosystem.

The study published in “Global Ecology and Conservation” and co-authored by University of Hawaii at Manoa professor, Donald Drake, explains that biodiversity on islands are increasingly being threatened by habitat loss, overexploitation, invasive species and climate change.

“Sadly, humans have had huge impacts on islands,” Drake said. “In the last 500 years, three-quarters of the species that have gone extinct are island species, and the reason this is a warning paper is that about half of the world’s endangered species are also island species.”

With Hawaii being home to hundreds of unique plants and animals — including the state bird and flower, the nene and the yellow hibiscus — scientists said policymakers and the general public must do more to protect these species.

Drake said many conservation programs in Hawaii are already making a huge impact, including UH Manoa’s Lyon Arboretum, the Manoa Cliffs Restoration Project and the Hawaii Audubon Society.

Scientists encourage everyone young and old to join in the effort to protect Hawaii.

“There are opportunities available to people of any age and any ability. There’s way more work to be done than there are people to do it,” Drake said.

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