21 March, 2019

Learning to Read the 'Aina

Look at the land as if it were a musical score. Each part if the landscape is part if the musical staff: ground, water, grasses, low shrubs, tall shrubs and mid-story, trees, perches, canopy and above the canopy.

As a reader, you’re looking at plant and animal behavior. Looking for plant and animal hotspots is like highlighting the melody in a musical score. The ecosystem surrounding the hotspot is like the harmony that supports the melody.

Step 1: Look for behavior
Looking for the melody, find the solos and identify the harmony.

Spot the main characters and identify the supporting cast.

Look at the action, pull your perspective back and surround it by a 10 by 10 square.
We can call that the immediate habitat.

Step 2: Learn names of the main characters
Identify the dominant species species in that 10 X 10 square meter. This is the first step in learning to read the aina. Learning their names. The water has character, the soil has character. Each of the plants have a name which opens the door to their life story.

This 10 X 10 square meter is called an are. Also pronounced “air”. This is the basic unit of habitat. You could call it an "are-ya"—"airya"—area—arena—habitat unit—ecosystem unit. About 40 of these make an acre. One hundred of these make a hectare.

Each living thing has a beginning, They have the ingredients for a life story, a natural history.

For some observers, this may be enough information. Others may want to look deeper.
Step 3: Ecology
Observe how the soil, water, plants and animals interact with each other. Of special interest would be the native plant community. This could have been the garden before human occupation of the islands. There are reasons that it doesn’t exist any more. How does it behave? How do all the players interact? How do you keep an ecosystem alive? How to you make grow and become resilient in a developed environment? How can restore what’s left of the original garden of the these island?

Step 4: Affects of humans, culture
If there are stories attached, there is cause and effect, a beginning and one event leading to another. The beginning has a date—when it was first observed or identified by humans. Carbon dating allows us to go back in time before humans set foot on these islands.. This takes information and tools. This is mainly a sequencing task—making a timeline which include our effects on the soil, water, plants and animals.

We are placing a value on native plants in order understand and appreciate an ancient diminishing ecosystem.

Learning to read the aina, and better understand what we’re reading is a good start.

Posted on 21 March, 2019 02:42 by sgamponia sgamponia | 3 comments | Leave a comment

14 August, 2018

Identifying an ecosystem as native

Determine the dominant trees, shrubs and ground cover in an area.

Estimate by area or the ratio of native to invasive plants.

0–invasive/degraded: >99% aggressive invasive plant species <1% native plant species
1–native survivors: 1%-10% native species, 90% alien plant species
2–restoration potential
3–native foothold: 40%-60% alien introduced, plant species, 40%-60% native plant species
4–Restored: 75%-90% native plant species
5–Pristine: 90-99% native species

The project “Native Plants in Maui’s Coastal Ecosystems” can help one learn to recognize Maui’s native plants.

Posted on 14 August, 2018 16:27 by sgamponia sgamponia | 0 comments | Leave a comment

Assessing an ecosystem

The thing I ‘ll look at is to get a proportion of trees, shrubs, grass and herbaceous ground cover. Then I’ll look at how tar away they are from water. Next, I try to determine the 2 most dominant species, and determine whether they are introduced or native. All the while I’m noticing anything that’s moving—birds and insects and the plants they interact with.

Posted on 14 August, 2018 02:34 by sgamponia sgamponia | 0 comments | Leave a comment

12 August, 2018

Ecology of Native Hawaiian Ecosystems

I would like to document the ecological interactions that occur between birds, insects and plants in native ecosystems. I'll take a photo of plant, bird and insect species and in the notes document the observation under notes.

Posted on 12 August, 2018 19:04 by sgamponia sgamponia | 0 comments | Leave a comment