Published this October, Pacific Science volume 71, no. 4 arrived with a special section on habitat restoration, which includes seven open-access articles. We asked Editor-in-Chief Curtis C. Daehler and guest editors Melissa Price and Robert J. Toonen to weigh in on this issue’s special topic and other research important to the quarterly science journal.
Vol. 71, Issue 4 includes a special feature: “Scaling Up Restoration Efforts in the Pacific Islands.” Why devote a whole section to this topic?
We have lost a lot of native species to habitat destruction in the Pacific region. Today, considerable attention is being given to protecting native ecosystems, for example, in the Hawai‘i Governor’s Sustainable Hawai‘i Initiative to protect 30% of the state’s watersheds by 2030. However, much less attention is given to restoration efforts, or the conversion of nonnative to native-dominated habitats. Invaded ecosystems may be more at risk for wildfires, and may enhance invasions of nearby native ecosystems. A few large-scale restoration success stories exist, such as that of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, and there are a number of small-scale efforts across the Pacific led by nonprofit groups. In this issue, we hope to promote conversations about how we can scale up restoration efforts to improve resiliency, promote ecosystem services, and reduce extinction rates across the Pacific region.
What challenges did you face in the creation of this special section?
The biggest challenges were representing the range of work being done around the Pacific and asking those working at small scales to think about how their work might be scaled-up. Also, a number of projects were just getting started, and it may be decades before there are results from these efforts. Finally, truly transformative work will likely be transdisciplinary. People involved in restoration must partner across sectors to solve challenging problems associated with restoration, such as seed production, removal of invasive plants and animals, and access for equipment and people to remote locations. We still have a long way to go in these areas, but we hope that this special collection will spark productive conversations.