The Hawaiian Archipelago is one of the remotest areas of land on the planet. Not surprisingly, the introduction of new plants, animals, insects, and microbes was limited to things with wings or species that could travel a long way on air or ocean currents. As a result, evolution was long and slow, and Hawaii had one of the highest rates of endemism in the world—species that evolved here and existed nowhere else. Until, of course, the arrival of people—first Polynesians and later everybody else—who introduced a host of new species. Colonists from Europe and the United States in particular were responsible for rapidly transforming island ecosystems in order to make them more familiar and to integrate them into the global economy.
As a result of all of this, Hawaii’s forests have undergone significant change, especially since the arrival of early Europeans and Americans. Describe the major changes that occurred in the 19th and 20th centuries. To the extent that the changes were deliberate, what motivated them? What are the chances of restoring these forests to their former splendor? Is the effort worth it?
For the environmental history part, your main text will be Wade Graham’s Braided Waters: Environment and Society in Molokai, Hawaii (online e-book from the library catalog). Although the book focuses on Molokai, much of it applies to all of the major islands. For the ecological restoration section, use Robert Cabin’s Restoring Paradise: Rethinking and Rebuilding Nature in Hawaii (also available as an e-book through the library catalog).
For a recent Civil Beat article about the importance of forests in protecting Hawaii’s watersheds: https://www.civilbeat.org/2020/09/how-efforts-to-save-hawaiis-forests-are-preventing-a-freshwater-crisis/
Guidelines for the paper:
• Length: 8 pages double-spaced not including bibliography page
• Font: Times New Roman, 12pt
• Margin: 1” all sides
• Use at least 5 sources:
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