ATBC Newsletter – September 2015

Fall Newsletter                                                                                   September 2015

Dear ATBC family,

The Annual ATBC Meeting in Honolulu filled us all with enthusiasm and excitement about moving forward. Congratulations to the new Honorary Fellows: Dieter Mueller-Dombois and J. Jack Ewel; Gentry Award Winners: Gaku Amada, Anat Belasen, and Sarah Jane Wilson; Baccardi Award Winner Haldre Rogers; and Carolyn Delevich, who received the New Phytologist Best Poster Prize in Plant Biology Read more here.

Planning has begun for the 2016 Annual Meeting, 19-23 June in Montpellier and the call for symposia is open until 1 November. The theme of the meeting is: Tropical Ecology and Society: Reconciling Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity.

We are accepting nominations for President-elect and four new Councilors until 15 October. If you are interested in serving on Council or would like to nominate another candidate (with their permission), please email Nominations Committee Chair Susan Laurance Your email should include the name of the person you are nominating plus their complete contact information.

Julieta Benitez-Malvido has begun her term as Secretary. You will soon be receiving membership renewals for 2016 from Wiley. Please renew early!

If you have problems with renewing your membership, please contact Julieta for assistance.

We have adopted a new Strategic Plan for 2015-2020 with five strategic foci:

  • Support the development of tropical biology and related interdisciplinary scientific approaches.
  • Communicate tropical biological science among the scientific and conservation community.
  • Foster the application of science in conservation policy and management action.
  • Grow the society by serving the needs and interests of the tropical biology research community.
  • Build organizational capacity and financial stability.

These points will guide future activities and fund-raising efforts.

Here are some other exciting developments:

  • We established a new Finance Committee to implement a more environmental and social sound investment portfolio for ATBC, establish an Endowment Fund, and coordinate with ATBC’s Fundraising committee
  • The Africa-Indian Ocean Chapter is getting off the ground! Orou Gaoue will be the Chair, and Onja Razafindratsima will serve as a secretary
  • We are developing a new membership structure in consultation with Wiley that breaks down economic barriers for membership and will create a more inclusive and engaged professional society
  • We are searching for a new webmaster. If you are interested, please contact search committee chair Norbert Cordeiro
  • The Conservation Committee released a new resolution in support of effective biodiversity security measures in the state of Hawai’i
  • A new data archiving policy is being developed for Biotropica.

Stay tuned and check the ATBC Website frequently for updates!

Tropically yours,
Robin Chazdon
Executive Director

(Download PDF: Fall 2015 ATBC Newsletter)

ATBC Web Editor Search


We are searching for an enthusiastic, dynamic, web-savvy content creator to serve as ATBC’s new Website Editor. The Web Editor will sharpen the ATBC’s online presence, expand this presence in new directions, and use our digital platforms to provide information relevant to both the general public and ATBC members. The primary responsibilities of the ATBC Web Site Editor are to:

  • Revise existing web page ( and social media accounts (e.g., Twitter, Facebook).
  • Prepare and solicit content for, such as news of interest to tropical biologists, employment opportunities, ATBC award announcements, resolutions and declarations, updated directories, etc.
  • Developing social media and website guidelines for the ATBC
  • Coordinate with Chairs of the ATBC Annual Meeting, Chapter Meetings, and Local Organizing Committees as they develop their meeting websites and online activities.
  • Coordinate with publisher and Editor of Biotropica to promote journal content and activities of the ATBC website and Biotropica Editor’s Blog (
  • Provide annual updates to the ATBC Council on website and social media activity and new initiatives

This is an opportunity to help shape the future of the society, develop a digital portfolio, and broaden the impacts of the research and teaching activities of the members of the society.  Though it is a volunteer position, the Web Editor will be an ex-officio member of the ATBC Council and hence eligible to apply for travel awards to help defray the costs of attending the annual meeting.

If interested, please contact Nobby Cordeiro (


Address letter to: Chair of Search Committee (Nobby Cordeiro)

Contact information: (please use subject heading: “ATBC web editor)

In a document, please answer the following:

  1. a paragraph on why you would like this position
  2. a paragraph on any background you have in web design and social media  (include web url links to highlight any examples of your work), including mention of any specific web software
  3. a paragraph on your availability each week and commitment in terms of years
  4. a paragraph on how this position might benefit you as well as the ATBC (it is important that you also state how long you have been a member of ATBC).

Please include a short Curriculum Vita with your application.

ATBC2016 : Call for Symposia and Sessions

ATBC2016 : Tropical Ecology and SocietyIn a rapidly changing world where untouched ecosystems are vanishing and biodiversity will have to be maintained in human-modified and sometimes novel environments, reconciling conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in the tropics has become a critical issue. The 53rd ATBC Annual Meeting focuses on this issue and aims to gather scientists from many different disciplines to exchange ideas, concepts and approaches, as well as to elaborate and promote innovations for the conservation of tropical ecosystems in the decades to come.

The call for symposia is now opened !

The submission will be available until 1st November, 2015.

Proposals of symposia are encouraged to address the meeting theme if appropriate. Subjects of broad interest to tropical biology and conservation will also be considered for sessions.

Please, review the symposia guidelines before your submission.

Thank you in advance for your involvment !

While waiting for your coming in Montpellier in 2016, feel free to contact us in order to become a partner or for any other question. Find all information Here

We look forward to seeing you in Montpellier. This meeting provides delegates with the opportunity to collaborate with researchers and meet with key speakers and industry leaders — participation is encouraged for anyone with a passion for tropical biology and conservation.

The Organizers : Plinio Sist (CIRAD), Stéphanie Carrière (IRD-GRED), Pia Parolin (INRA-Univ Hamburg) and Pierre-Michel Forget (MNHN-CNRS)

When we get trapped in conservation conflicts

Concerning news spread rapidly through social media on Friday 25th of September – more than 30 people, including well known tropical biologist John Terborgh, had been ‘kidnapped’ by a group of local protesters in Manú National Park, Peru.

John Terborgh, Royal Belum State Park, northern Malaysia.

Field trip to Royal Belum State Park, northern Malaysia. From left to right: John Terborgh, Lisa Davenport, Kim McConkey, Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz, and Lisa Ong. © Reserved.

The abduction took place on the 22nd of September and two days later, John and the other hostages had been released. Apparently there was no harassment nor use of violence and all the hostages are well (except for a person with a dislocated shoulder). John is now (26th September) on his way home, where he will meet his wife before the end of the week.

News of innocent people being retained against their will are always unsettling. In this case, John’s high academic profile and the fact that he is a such a respected and liked member of the ATBC community added a great deal of attention and concern to a story that otherwise might have passed unnoticed internationally.

I found interesting how netizens discussed on the social media whether it was or not appropriate to call the protesters ‘terrorists’. The motivations behind the protest were not clear at the time, but there were suggestions that the local community was ‘fighting against the construction of a road through their lands’. Basically, that they were ‘fighting for conservation’.

Reports coming from Peru now suggest rather the opposite – that the local communities were actually protesting to support the construction of a road that would connect Nuevo Eden with Boca Manu. This road is a project of the regional government that has been stopped due to a complaint from Peru’s National Protected Natural Areas Service (SENANP). SENANP is concerned that the proposed road would lead to illegal deforestation and mining activities inside Manú. Additional reports from the area indicate that the park rangers abandoned their working duties in advance of the protest, to avoid confrontations with the local communities.

Several thoughts come to (my*) mind in the middle of this story. First, local communities are often not the conservation heroes many people like to think they are. It is perfectly understandable for many of these communities to have interest that come in conflict with conservation. That is where proper (sensitive and sensible) policies and regulations come in place.

Second, law enforcement is extremely difficult in contexts where confrontation is culturally and socially very sensitive. This is the case in many remote protected areas. It doesn’t matter how sensitive and sensible policies and laws are, if they cannot be enforced.

And, finally, that we – researchers – are one more of the stakeholder groups involved in conservation and increasingly will find ourselves trapped in conservation conflicts. We cannot afford to claim that we just want to remain neutral while conducting our research. When in the name of conservation we recommend to gazette a protected area or to stop the exploitation of an endangered species, we are crossing our way with the interests of other stakeholders, sometimes large corporations sometimes local communities.

I’m really glad to hear that John is well. When I shared the news of his ‘kidnapping’ with my students, one of them wrote back saying ‘the protesters might have felt they abducted the wrong person. John probably earned the protesters respect during the period chatting with them’. My student has spent time chatting with John in the field, and he obviously earned a great deal of her respect. And mine.

Ahimsa Campos-Arceiz
Kuala Lumpur, 26 Sep 2015

* Note: these are exclusively my views. I’m not representing any organization nor anyone else.












Assistant, Associate or Full Scientist/Curator

Do you have a passion for cutting-edge biodiversity science and applying it to global sustainability challenges?

The California Academy of Sciences seeks to fill several endowed positions with Ph.D.-level scientists who do outstanding biodiversity / ecological science, focus on broader science communication & engagement, care about increasing diversity in science, connect their work to real-world sustainability outcomes, and want to change the world.

Under new leadership, the Academy is aggressively investing in groundbreaking scientific research & discovery, and hiring new scientists who will help us pursue our mission to “Explore, Explain and Sustain Life” on Earth. We are eagerly seeking up-and-coming scientific leaders with expertise in biodiversity, ecology & evolution, and global environmental change. At the Academy, scientists and curators are appointed in hard-money, endowed positions within our Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability (IBSS), and are expected to embrace scientific exploration, science communication & engagement, increasing diversity, and making a real difference in environmental sustainability.

Founded in 1853, the Academy offers a unique and powerful setting to conduct scientific research and engagement. Housed in its Double LEED Platinum building in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, the Academy combines a world-class museum, research institute, and educational center all under one roof. Facilities include outstanding research collections (with almost 46 million specimens); a world-leading digital planetarium / visualization studio; premiere aquarium facilities with nearly 40,000 living animals and unique culturing facilities; indoor rainforest, coral reef, and California coast habitats; numerous exhibits and educational facilities; and advanced research laboratories for work in genomics, specimen preparation, digitization, computer modeling, scientific visualization, etc. The Academy also recently acquired iNaturalist, a platform that engages global observers in high-quality data collection for citizen science. Furthermore, the Academy includes outstanding research and education staff who integrate science with cutting-edge virtual and in-person educational programming.

The new scientist “cluster hires” will join nearly 100 other staff and students in IBSS, and help us address some of the world’s most pressing problems related to biodiversity conservation, ecosystem health, global environmental change, and sustainability – and communicate it to stakeholders and a diverse public.

The open positions are broad, and we are searching in many areas of biodiversity science and related fields. The Academy especially seeks experts in coral reef biology, tropical rain forests, the ecology of California, and the impacts of global change on biodiversity, as well as candidates with interests in marine mammals and amphibian decline. We seek candidates with skills in “big data”, modeling, GIS, visualization, genomics, and innovative methods for field- and collections-based research. Candidates who connect their work to larger sustainability challenges are of special interest. Candidates must also show leadership in science communication and engagement, as well as an interest in increasing diversity in science.

Candidates will be reviewed until all positions are filled; for full consideration, send applications by November 1, 2015. Interviews will be held early in 2016; starting dates are negotiable. Suitable candidates must have a doctorate in a relevant field; postdoctoral experience or equivalent training; enthusiasm for communicating science to broad audiences; commitment to expanding diversity in science; and a passion to pursue research with sustainability outcomes.

A complete application consists of the following which you will be asked to upload: 
1. Cover letter; 2. Curriculum vitae; 3. Three, two-page vision statements (one outlines your scientific goals, another your education & engagement goals, and lastly the sustainability outcomes of your research); 4. Four publications (two technical and two examples of public/media outreach); 5. Two letters of reference plus a list of 3-5 additional contacts.

Additional questions? Contact the Chief of IBSS, Dr. Meg Lowman (

The California Academy of Sciences is an Equal Opportunity Employer and committed to ensuring that all employees and applicants receive equal consideration and treatment, regardless of race, color, creed, gender (including gender identity or gender expression), religion, marital or domestic partner status, age, national origin or ancestry, physical, mental or medical disability, sex, sexual orientation, citizenship, military service status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law or local ordinance.


The California Academy of Sciences will consider for employment all qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance (SF Police Code, Article 49).

Apply here:

Assistant Professor – University of Florida

Assistant Professor – Resilience and Restoration Silviculture, University of Florida, School of Forest Resources and Conservation (SFRC), Gainesville, Florida

12-month position with tenure accruing in the SFRC. The assigned responsibilities will be 70% research (Florida Agricultural Experiment Station) and 30% instruction (College of Agricultural and Life Sciences), Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, at the University of Florida. The faculty member will develop an internationally recognized, externally funded research program focused on silviculture as a tool to adapt forest composition, structure and function to help mitigate impacts of novel and emerging forest health threats across diverse forest types and ownership classes. Instructional duties include teaching undergraduate and/or graduate courses, advising and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students, and engaging in professional development activities related to teaching and advising. An earned doctorate in silviculture or a closely related discipline such as forest ecology or forest ecophysiology is required. Research focus should be within the context of forest management. Postdoctoral experience is desirable. Experience in forest pathology, forest entomology, and/or other aspects of forest health are highly desirable, as are quantitative analytical and modeling skills. This position is one of four in a cohort (three faculty, one staff) designed to meet the multi-faceted forest health challenge guiding management decisions and policy recommendations toward increased forest resilience. Questions about the position can be referred to Dr. Tim Martin, To apply, please visit

ATBC Website Editor Search

We are searching for an enthusiastic, dynamic, web-savvy content creator to serve as ATBC’s new Website Editor. The Web Editor will sharpen the ATBC’s online presence, expand this presence in new directions, and use our digital platforms to provide information relevant to both the general public and ATBC members. The primary responsibilities of the ATBC Web Site Editor are to:

  • Revise existing web page ( and social media accounts (e.g., Twitter, Facebook).
  • Prepare and solicit content for, such as news of interest to tropical biologists, employment opportunities, ATBC award announcements, resolutions and declarations, updated directories, etc.
  • Developing social media and website guidelines for the ATBC.
  • Coordinate with Chairs of the ATBC Annual Meeting, Chapter Meetings, and Local Organizing Committees as they develop their meeting websites and online activities.
  • Coordinate with publisher and Editor of Biotropica to promote journal content and activities of the ATBC website and Biotropica Editor’s Blog (
  • Provide annual updates to the ATBC Council on website and social media activity and new initiatives.

This is an opportunity to help shape the future of the society, develop a digital portfolio, and broaden the impacts of the research and teaching activities of the members of the society.  Though it is a volunteer position, the Web Editor will be an ex-officio member of the ATBC Council and hence eligible to apply for travel awards to help defray the costs of attending the annual meeting.

If interested, please contact Nobby Cordeiro (

Call for Applications for the Whitley Awards 2016

The Whitley Fund for Nature (WFN) is a UK registered charity offering ‘Whitley Awards’ to dynamic conservation leaders around the world. Whitley Awards are both an international profile prize and a form of project funding (currently worth £35,000 over one year).
The application period for the Whitley Awards 2016 is now OPEN – the deadline for applications is October 31st 2015.

Please visit to download an application form and find guidance notes on how to apply and eligibility.

(Download PDF: Whitley Awards 2016 Call for Applications)

ATBC Resolution in Support of Effective Biosecurity Measures for the State of Hawai’i

Hawai’i is a geographically isolated archipelago comprising a diverse range of biophysical environments. Its situation has resulted in more than 18,000 native species, many of which are unique to Hawai’i, including 81% of birds, 90% of the terrestrial plants, 99% of terrestrial molluscs and insects, and approximately 40% of marine molluscs.

Accidental and intentional introductions of alien species have, however, transformed ecosystems and landscapes. Although most introduced species have little adverse impact, some cause major problems through their spread and ability to transform native ecosystems, frequently causing extensive losses of native biodiversity in the process. These are called invasive alien species. In Hawai’i invasive alien species have caused, and continue to cause harm to the survival of native species, as well as to ecosystem services such as pollination and watershed productivity, production of food and forest commodities, water quality, and public health, all of which impact the local economies and quality of life.

Hawaiʻi imports most of its food, fuel, and construction and consumer goods via marine and air transportation.  It is by these means that most invasive alien species are imported into the state from the US mainland and other countries.  The vast majority of incoming goods are not inspected for pests; ballast water compliance is unverified; and, there are no rules in place to mitigate the risk of biofouling organisms on vessels’ hulls. Thus, introductions of invasive alien species have been facilitated by gaps in biosecurity programs for the prevention, detection, and isolation of potentially problematic alien species.

Two examples of major invasive species and impacts are the Little Fire Ant and Miconia:

Little Fire Ants (Wasmannia auropunctata; also known as the electric ant) are stinging ants that impact public health and quality of life.  They have also affected invertebrate and wild animal populations, and promoted scale insects which in turn impact agricultural crops and plants. Since 1999 Little Fire Ants have spread to over 4,000 locations on the island of Hawaiʻi and have even been found in isolated locations on Kauaʻi, Maui, and Oʻahu Islands.  A 2013 study found that the economic impact of Little Fire Ants on Hawaiʻi Island is $194 million annually.  An immediate expenditure of $8 million in the next 2–3 years plus follow-up prevention, monitoring, and mitigation treatments will yield $1.210 billion in reduced control costs and $129 million in lowered economic damages, over 10 years. It will not, however, result in eradication.

Miconia calvescens is a plant which can form monotypic stands by outcompeting native plants for light, space, and water resources.  Its large leaves collect and then deposit large water drops that cause soil erosion, and its shallow root system may further destabilize slopes and promote erosion through enhanced run-off.  Economic damage by Miconia in Hawai‘i is estimated at $672 million annually, mainly in lost groundwater recharge and decreased valuation of habitat invaded by Miconia.

Despite the many invasive species already present in Hawai‘i, many more potentially invasive alien species are not yet present.  Greatly enhanced biosecurity measures could prevent new devastating invasive pests from arriving and becoming established.  For instance, the annual economic impact to Hawai‘i if Red Fire Ants (Solenopsis invicta) become established is estimated at $211 million, while that of Brown Tree Snakes (Boiga irregularis) is estimated at $2.14 billion.

The Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture, the agency charged with preventing the introduction and establishment of plants, animals and diseases that are detrimental to the state’s agriculture industry and the environment, receives a mere 0.5% of the state budget.  The Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources, the agency that is charged with protecting aquatic and terrestrial resources fares little better at 1% of the budget.  A third agency, the Hawaiʻi Department of Health, also plays a role in protecting Hawaiʻi by its vector control and disease monitoring activities.  For example, the mosquito vectors for West Nile virus (WNV) which is having severe impacts on bird populations on the mainland are widespread in Hawai’i and there is no disease-free winter. The DoH’s mosquito monitoring program has, however, experienced budget cuts that have reduced a program supporting hundreds of monitoring traps at all ports and key detection sites on Oʻahu to just four at Honolulu International Airport.

In Summary:

  • Hawaiʻi is one of the world’s richest biodiversity hotspots, with the highest rates of endemism in the world;
  • Hawaiʻi’s plants and floral communities are the most threatened in the United States, but receive a tiny fraction of all US endangered species funds;
  • Hawaiʻi’s remaining biodiversity is increasingly threatened by invasive alien species;
  • Despite multiple federal and state agencies mandated to address invasive alien species, there are still major gaps in funding, resources, and priorities;
  • Many elements of an effective Biosecurity Plan are already in place, but leaders and funding need to be identified to take this forward.

We, the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation representing >850 scientists and conservationists from 64 nations including the United States of America, urge the State of Hawaii and U.S. government to:

  • Secure significant, long-term final staffing commitments by the public, business leaders, and policymakers for addressing key policy, resource, and infrastructure needs to limit the establishment and mitigate the impacts of invasive alien species in Hawaiʻi.
  • Establish effective and fully-functioning quarantine inspection facilities at all major airports on all islands and at Honolulu Harbor.
  • Commit to the establishment, funding, and implementation of a long-term plan to counter invasive alien species.
  • Take full and immediate advantage of the state’s 2050 Sustainability Plan, the Regional Biosecurity Plan, and the Aloha + Challenge targets on reversing the trend of natural resource loss.
  • Fully engage the institutional expertise represented in state and federal agencies, universities, NGOs, and business and policy stakeholders to work together to craft, support, and implement a Hawaiʻi Biosecurity Plan.

(Link to PDF: ATBC-resolution25-Hawaiian-Invasives)

ATBC 2015 Honolulu Declaration in Support of Cultural and Biological Restoration of Kaho‘olawe Island Reserve, Hawaii

The Hawaiian Archipelago is one of the most important, unique and biodiverse hotspots of the world, with approximately ninety percent of its native flowering plants occurring nowhere else, approximately fifty percent of which are endangered with extinction. The natural beauty, diversity, and richness of the native landscape are under threat, as are the cultural practices of the native Hawaiian people that developed in concert with these natural treasures. Kaho‘olawe Island is also culturally and spiritually important to many peoples, and especially to the Kanaka Maoli-people of native Hawaiian ancestry.

Kaho‘olawe Island was used for 52 years (1941-1993) by the U.S. Navy as a “training ground,” primarily as a bombing range for target practice. President George W. Bush stopped the bombing in 1990, and President William J. Clinton returned the island to the State of Hawaii in 1994. The island, upon its return, was to be “held in trust for a Hawaiian entity.” Following a necessary 10-year period of ordnance removal, the final control of access to Kaho‘olawe was transferred to the State of Hawai‘i in 2003. The island was then placed under the administration of the Kaho‘olawe Island Reserve Commission (KIRC). Today, KIRC is responsible for the restoration and sustainable management of the island until it can be transferred to a native Hawaiian entity. These are the first lands that were to be returned to the native Hawaiian people for sovereign maintenance, and represent an important precedent for the potential return of other territories to their original owners.

Initial funds for restoration of Kaho‘olawe Island were allocated by Congress after considerable lobbying by former Senators Daniel K. Inouye and Daniel K. Akaka. These funds (US$400 million) were meant to rid the island of unexploded ordnance. The Navy was responsible for clearing ordnance from the entire surface of the island and twenty-five percent of the ground’s subsurface, to a depth of four feet. US$44 million of the funds secured by Sen. Akaka were allocated to KIRC’s management and restoration of the island, and the State issued an emergency US$1 million to keep KIRC in operation for another two years. All funds were exhausted in early 2015, but the island has only been partially restored.

When President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed Executive Order 10436 in 1953, reserving the right of the US military to use Kaho‘olawe as a training facility, the order clearly stated several obligations, including the “eradication of cloven hooved animals” and, upon return of the island to Hawai‘i, “render such area….reasonably safe for human habitation, without cost to the Territory.” These obligations have not been met. Twenty-five percent of the land surface remains to be cleared of ordnance and only one-third of the promised subsurface area has been cleared to date.

In addition to the removal of ordnance, efforts to manage and restore the island have been insufficient. The budget shortfall for the operation of the island is at a critical point as the State is now considering opening the island for commercial activity to generate funds. This plan is in direct conflict with the State’s mandate to hold the island in trust for a sovereign Hawaiian entity, as any revenues generated from that trust should belong to said entity.

Because neither clean-up nor ecological restoration has been completed, the US military and US government have failed in their commitment to fully remediate the island before returning it to the State of Hawaii. The lack of commitment to the restoration of the island is resulting in extensive soil erosion. The State estimates that Kaho‘olawe loses 1.9 million tons of soil each year, increasing the cost of restoration and continually damaging marine and terrestrial biodiversity.

Issues of social justice are also embedded in the issue of providing sufficient restoration funds. Native Hawaiians who cared deeply for Kaho’olawe fought, and in some cases died, to ensure that the island is returned to them in its pre-military condition. Such persons as George Helm, Kimo Mitchell, Emmett Aluli, and Walter Ritte are widely-recognized for their important roles. These native Hawaiians, and others, were the original creators of the non-profit Protect Kaho‘olawe ‘Ohana (PKO) which eventually facilitated the termination of the bombing and the return of the island. The PKO (which operates on a very limited budget) has obtained rights for access to native Hawaiians to conduct cultural practices, and continues to engage Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian people and student groups in cultural and biological restoration of the island.

WE the 107 scientists from Hawai‘i, 149 scientists from 35 other states in the USA, and 256 scientists from 49 other countries who attended the meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) held in Honolulu from 13 – 16 July, 2015, organized under the main theme of Resilience of Island Systems in the Context of Climate Change: Challenges for Biological and Cultural diversity and Conservation:

Recognize that the cultural and biological restoration of Kaho‘olawe Island continues to be a major conservation and socio-ecological issue in Hawai‘i, and has implications in the United States for the US government’s obligations to its states and its indigenous peoples.

Understand that to uphold the original proclamations and guarantees of the US Government, additional funds are required immediately for the continued restoration and management of the biocultural integrity of the island. These monies should include adequate resources to eliminate the remaining feral animals from the island, to conduct biological restoration of the island to a level that greatly reduces the negative impacts of erosion, to make the island “suitable for human habitation”, and to provide an endowment that will allow the State of Hawai‘i, at no cost to itself, to maintain minimal management of the island for as long as is needed before ceding the island to a sovereign Hawaiian entity. We estimate these total funds to be approximately US$1 billion.

The ATBC makes the following recommendations:

  1. The State Fund (or equivalent funds petitioned from the US military) be made available for the full remediation and biocultural restoration of the island;
  2. The US military provide at least US$700 million to complete the environmental clean-up, and remove all remaining ordnance;
  3. The US military provide at least US$300 million to mitigate erosion, restore the native flora, and eliminate invasive animals (feral cats, rats, cloven-hooved animals, etc.).

The full biocultural restoration of Kaho’olawe is important not only for Hawai‘i and native Hawaiians, but as a model for how restoration could be achieved following demilitarisation anywhere in the world.

16 July 2015, Honolulu, Hawai‘i, USA