Rapid colonization of a Hawaiian restoration forest by a diverse avian community

Restoration Ecology
By: , and 



Deforestation of tropical forests has led to widespread loss and extirpation of forest bird species around the world, including the Hawaiian Islands which have experienced a dramatic loss of forests over the last 200–800 years. Given the important role birds play in forest ecosystem functions via seed dispersal and pollination, a bird community's response to forest restoration is an important measure of the success of such conservation actions. We evaluated the bird response to reforestation at an important bird sanctuary, Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, Hawai′i Island, using 26 years of bird count data. We show that most species from within the diverse avian community increased significantly, but species colonized the restoration forest at different rates. Distance from intact forest and time since restoration were both important predictors of colonization rate, interacting such that for most species it took more time to colonize areas farther from the intact forest. In addition, both forest cover and understory diversity helped to explain bird densities, but the effect varied among species, suggesting that different habitat requirements may help drive variation in colonization rates. This article provides the first detailed evaluation of how a diverse community of birds has responded to one of the largest, ongoing reforestation projects in Hawai′i.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Rapid colonization of a Hawaiian restoration forest by a diverse avian community
Series title Restoration Ecology
DOI 10.1111/rec.12540
Volume 26
Issue 1
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center
Description 9 p.
First page 165
Last page 173
Country United States
State Hawai′i
Other Geospatial Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge