Development of Decision Support Systems for Ecosystem Management: A case study on Hawai`i Island

Kimball, Heather
Price, Jonathan
Tropical Conservation Biology & Environmental Science
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Starting Page
Ending Page
Alternative Title
Ecosystem management decisions are inherently complex, requiring the integration of ecological science, economics, policy, cultural values, and stakeholder needs. Decision support systems (DSS) are tools intended to facilitate communication between researchers, land managers and policy makers, with the goal of more informed and holistic decision making at the ecosystem scale. The objective of this thesis was to assess the process of DSS development and generate components of a DSS for an individual land owner to assist in planning ecosystem management. The study area selected to demonstrate this process is 23,000 hectares in the Humu`ula tract on Hawai`i Island administered by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. This site was selected because it has an existing land management plan, the `Āina Mauna Legacy Plan, and it represents two main threats to ecosystems in Hawai`i, habitat degradation and non-native plant and animal species invasions. Based on nearly three years of discussions with the stakeholders, the following management goals were identified for the study area: restoration and protection of native plant and bird habitat, gorse (Ulex europaeus) removal, watershed restoration, fire reduction, and most importantly, increased and more consistent funding to support the aforementioned goals. This study is divided into three sections. The first section describes establishing Gross Primary Productivity and Net Primary Productivity parameter estimates for the different land cover classes in the study area in order to project the capacity of the ecosystem to capture carbon under the alternative scenarios. The second section evaluates the use of high resolution imagery to model the current land cover of the study area, particularly the spatial distribution of the invasive shrub gorse. The final section covers a summary, conclusion and the next steps for this project including the parameterization of a state and transition model, used in the Carbon Assessment of Hawai`i, to generate projections and data layers to develop a decision support system for the study area as an appendix.
Ecology, Remote sensing, Biology, Decision Support Systems, Ecological Modeling, Ecosystem Management, Gross Primary Productivity, MOD17, Remote Sensing
89 pages
Geographic Location
Time Period
Related To
All UHH dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Rights Holder
Email if you need this content in ADA-compliant format.