Volcano Rare Plant Facility – FY 2009 Report

Summary

Volcano Rare Plant Facility’s inventory this fiscal year included 84 species (48 endangered, 11 candidate, 24 species of concern). In addition, VRPF produced 11,314 threatened or endangered plants for outplanting. These plants represent 38 listed species that were restored to protected sites on the island of Hawaii.

Objectives and Performance

Objective A: Research to develop procedures for propagation and production of endangered Hawaii Island plant species.

In Fiscal Year 2009 VRPF received and worked on 190 new plant accessions. VRPF developed propagation treatments, studied phenology, and tested new fertilizers, pesticides, and growth media appropriate for native plants from diverse Big Island habitats. Previous years’ work on hand pollinations bore fruit this fiscal year when 3088 Clermontia peleana sbsp peleana were outplanted and more than 400 Anoectochilus sandvicensis seedlings resulted from hand pollinations.

Objective B: Propagation of rare and endangered plants to increase numbers and preserve genetic diversity with the ultimate objective of restoring these plants to native habitats.

The FY2009 inventory of rare plants covers 84 species with 48 listed as endangered, 11 listed as candidates for listing, and 24 listed as species of concern. These include gene banked plants and seed, plants that are intended for future outplanting, and those out planted this year.

In the past fiscal year VRPF produced 11,314 plants listed as threatened or endangered for outplanting to secured sites on the island of Hawaii. The largest projects restored 4040 Argyroxiphium kauense to sites in Hawaii Volcano National Park and Kapapala Forest Reserve, and 3,088 Clermontia peleana subsp. peleana to sites in Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge, Kilauea Forest Reserve, and Puu Makaala Natural Area Reserve. Large numbers of other endangered lobelias were outplanted as well. A total of 1,970 Clermontia pyrularia were outplanted in Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge and Laupahoehoe Natural Area Reserve and 453 Clermontia lindseyana in Hawaii Volcano National Park and Puu Makaala Natural Area Reserve.

In addition, 1,048 unlisted native plants and 10,220 seeds were produced to provide more diverse and robust native communities to enhance restoration projects.

Additional Information

As a part of VRPF’s educational mission the staff hosted groups from the Youth Conservation Corps, Imi Pono No Ka Aina, Kulani Prison Inmate Program, University of Hawaii at Hilo, and Oahu Army Natural Resources.

Volcanic gases from the active caldera of Halemaumau made life miserable for plants and people alike this past year with intolerable levels of vog. The staff would like to thank the Hawaiian Silversword Foundation for providing the life saving SO2 meter that continues to get a lot of use at the facility and in the field.

Last but certainly not least the staff wants to thank the volunteers who made our lives easier and more interesting this past fiscal year.