Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative
The PICCC provides a range of scientific and technical tools to help managers in Hawai‘i, the Mariana Islands, American Samoa, and other Pacific Island groups make informed decisions for landscape-scale conservation of natural and cultural resources including climate models at the archipelagic and island scales, ecological response models, and implementation and monitoring strategies for island species, resources, and communities. Our goal is to help managers reach explicit biocultural conservation objectives in the face of climate change and ongoing threats such as fire, land conservation, and invasive species.
Purpose and MissionThe Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative (PICCC) is a self-directed, non-regulatory conservation alliance whose purpose is to assist those who manage native species, island ecosystems and key cultural resources in adapting their management to climate change for the continuing benefit of the people of the Pacific Islands. Our mission is to improve the ability of native island species and ecosystems to accommodate future climate change and related perturbations, and support the long-term protection of key cultural resources by providing useful projections of climate and natural resource change in the Pacific Islands, innovative management options, and a membership that supports coordinated action among institutional and community stakeholders.
FunctionsThe PICCC provides scientific and technical support for landscape-scale conservation in an adaptive management framework by supporting biological planning, conservation design in a cultural context, prioritization and coordination of research, and inventory and monitoring program design. These functions are accomplished by a core team working at the direction of the PICCC Steering Committee and interacting at multiple levels with the technical and executive staffs of the member organizations. Specific functions include:
- Iterative science-based planning and landscape-level prioritization that focuses conservation programs on the components of the landscape most sensitive to environmental change, to include analyses of landscape components of particular cultural use or other significance.
- Development of a collaborative infrastructure that allows the full spectrum of conservation activities (planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and research) to function as an integrated yet iterative endeavor.
- Coordinated application of geospatial and other information management technologies as necessary to plan, monitor, and evaluate activities and outcomes at various eco-regional scales.
- Coordinated and leveraged delivery of private, state, and federal conservation program actions targeted at priority species, habitats, and other natural and cultural resources.
- Active engagement with communities regarding future directions in island ecosystems and conservation priorities.
- Analyses of alternatives and formulation of recommendations for policy makers, resource managers, and Pacific Island communities.
Ko‘ie‘ie Fishpond on the island of Maui in the Hawaiian archipelago. Climate Change places at risk traditional subsistence practices in the Pacific. Photo: Deanna Spooner
StructureAccomplishing our mission requires clear guidance and a dedicated staff. The PICCC members form a Steering Committee which functions to collectively determine the operational structure and goals of the PICCC, the breadth of its activities, the projects to be undertaken by the staff, and grant making priorities.
PICCC members are supporting the following staff positions:
- PICCC Coordinator (USFWS)
- Science Manager (USFWS)
- Administrative Support (USFWS)
- Communications specialist (USFWS)
- GIS/Data Manager (USFWS)
- Species Modelers (USGS, USFWS)
- Ecosystem Modelers (USGS, USFWS)
- Cultural Resources Specialist (NPS)
At high elevations in Hawai‘i ambient temperatures are increasing more quickly than the global rate, impacting upland forests and native forest birds. Photo: USGS
- Mapping potential ranges of native species and invasive species under future temperature and precipitation projections.
- Pushing vulnerability assessments for rare species, native ecosystems, and keystone species.
- Developing web-based decision support tools for managers and the public.
- Predicting future potential community composition within protected areas under different climate scenarios.
- Identifying potential corridors linking present and future habitat.
- Recommending conservation and acquisition priorities based on future climate and sea level.
- Developing adaptation strategies to protect biodiversity and cultural heritage across the Pacific.
ProjectsIn 2010, the PICCC funded a series of projects that will vastly improve our understanding of how global climate change is manifesting at regional and site-specific scales. The projects are overseen by researchers at the University of Hawai‘i, the Climate Foundation, and American Samoa Department of Marine & Wildlife Resources. Additional PICCC projects are being funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the National Park Service.
PICCC projects funded to date include:
- Climate Modeling for the Hawaiian Archipelago. Regional atmospheric modeling to produce climate change projections at a scale that is ecologically relevant to natural resources management.
- Climate Downscaling. Statistical downscaling to derive estimates of changes in future rainfall over the Hawaiian Islands for the mid- and late-21st century that will inform estimated risk potential for endangered species in Hawai‘i’s ecosystem.
- Climate and Ecosystem Monitoring. Continued operation and maintenance of the HaleNet climate and ecosystem monitoring network to provide critical high-quality data for calibration and validation of downscaled climate models for Maui Island, Hawai‘i.
- Mapping Sea-level Rise. Spatial and temporal modeling of sea-level rise on sites of high significance on the coastal plains of O‘ahu and Maui (Hawai‘i) in order to define potential ecological and cultural impacts and support management responses.
- Reversing Coral Reef Impacts. Testing management methods to reverse localized coral bleaching by locally increasing pH to counter ocean acidification on a reef at Tutuila, American Samoa.
- Bioclimate Projections. Project changes in the distributions of native Hawaiian plants based on projected future temperature and precipitation estimates derived from first-generation statistical climate downscaling.