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Title: Primary Succession on a Hawaiian Dryland Chronosequence

We used measurements from airborne imaging spectroscopy and LiDAR to quantify the biophysical structure and composition of vegetation on a dryland substrate age gradient in Hawaii. Both vertical stature and species composition changed during primary succession, and reveal a progressive increase in vertical stature on younger substrates followed by a collapse on Pleistocene-aged flows. Tall-stature Metrosideros polymorpha woodlands dominated on the youngest substrates (hundreds of years), and were replaced by the tall-stature endemic tree species Myoporum sandwicense and Sophora chrysophylla on intermediate-aged flows (thousands of years). The oldest substrates (tens of thousands of years) were dominated by the short-stature native shrub Dodonaea viscosa and endemic grass Eragrostis atropioides. We excavated 18 macroscopic charcoal fragments from Pleistocene-aged substrates. Mean radiocarbon age was 2,002 years and ranged from < 200 to 7,730. Genus identities from four fragments indicate that Osteomeles spp. or M. polymorpha once occupied the Pleistocene-aged substrates, but neither of these species is found there today. These findings indicate the existence of fires before humans are known to have occupied the Hawaiian archipelago, and demonstrate that a collapse in vertical stature is prevalent on the oldest substrates. In conclusion, this work contributes to our understanding of prehistoric fires in shapingmore » the trajectory of primary succession in Hawaiian drylands.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [6] ;  [6] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [7] ;  [8] ;  [9] ;  [10]
  1. Brown Univ., Providence, RI (United States); United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Hilo, HI (United States)
  2. Carnegie Inst. of Science, Stanford, CA (United States)
  3. United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Hilo, HI (United States)
  4. Univ. of California, Santa Barbara, CA (United States)
  5. Lawrence Livermore National Lab. (LLNL) and U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Livermore, CA (United States). Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry (CAMS)
  6. Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison, WI (United States)
  7. California Polytechnic State Univ. (CalPoly), Pomona, CA (United States)
  8. Eastern Kentucky Univ., Richmond, KY (United States)
  9. Hawaii Volcano Observatory, Volcano, HI (United States)
  10. Brown Univ., Providence, RI (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 10; Journal Issue: 6; Journal ID: ISSN 1932-6203
Public Library of Science
Research Org:
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), Livermore, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States