The Hawaii Permanent Plot Network (HIPPNET) was initiated in 2007 by faculty and research ecologists at the University of Hawaii, US Forest Service, and UCLA to investigate forest dynamics across the island of Hawaii. Three 4-hectare plots are currently being established, and an additional 1-2 plots will be started in 2008. Initial censuses for all plots are expected to be completed by 2009. Support for the project has been provided by NSF EPSCoR, US Forest Service, and the University of Hawaii.
Hawaiian dry forests are among the most endangered ecosystem types in the world. Palamanui was chosen for the HIPPET site due to its near pristine condition (has probably never seen a major disturbance), ease of access, and commitment of landowner to preserve the land in perpetuity. The plot is dominated by lama (Diospyros sandwicensis), alahe’e (Psydrax odorata), and sandalwood (Santalum paniculatum), with few invasive plants in the understory. This aseasonal, evergreen dry forest receives fewer than 1000 mm of rain each year. Three federally listed Endangered Species and two Species of Concern were found in a survey of the site. Palamanui is privately owned and protected as a conservation easement.
Click here to view a recent article by Lawren Sack (UCLA) describing HIPPNET.