The Hawaii Permanent Plot Network (HIPPNET) was initiated in 2007 by faculty and research ecologists at the University of Hawaii, US Forest Service, and UCLA to investigate forest dynamics across the island of Hawaii. Two 4-ha plots have been established. Initial censuses for the plots were completed in 2009. One column of the plot is re-measured annually with full re-measures every 5 years. Support for the project has been provided by NSF EPSCoR, US Forest Service, and the University of Hawaii.
Each HIPPNET plot is associated with a climate station. Each station is situated to be unobstructed by canopy vegetation and is outfitted with an array of sensors for collecting local climate data. Dataloggers record the information, which is then routinely downloaded via wireless modem.
Hawaiian dry forests are among the most endangered ecosystem types in the world. Palamanui was chosen for the HIPPET site due to its near pristine condition (has probably never seen a major disturbance), ease of access, and commitment of landowner to preserve the land in perpetuity. The plot is dominated by lama (Diospyros sandwicensis), alahe’e (Psydrax odorata), and sandalwood (Santalum paniculatum), with few invasive plants in the understory. This aseasonal, evergreen dry forest receives fewer than 1000 mm of rain each year. Three federally listed Endangered Species and two Species of Concern were found in a survey of the site. Palamanui is privately owned and protected as a conservation easement.
See Ostertag et al. for more information. Ostertag, R., F. Inman-Narahari, S. Cordell, C.P. Giardina, L. Sack. 2014. Forest structure in low-diversity tropical forests: a study of Hawaiin wet and dry forests. PLoS ONE 9(8): e103268. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0103268.