Maintaining the many societal benefits of rangelands: The case of Hawai‘i
Bremer, Leah L., Neil Nathan, Clay Trauernicht, Pua‘ala Pascua, Nicholas Krueger, Jordan Jokiel, Jayme Barton, and Gretchen C. Daily
Land 10, 764, https://doi.org/10.3390/land10070764 (2021)
Well-managed rangelands provide important economic, environmental, and cultural benefits. Yet, many rangelands worldwide are experiencing pressures of land-use change, overgrazing, fire, and drought, causing rapid degradation. These pressures are especially acute in the Hawaiian Islands, which we explore as a microcosm with some broadly relevant lessons. Absent stewardship, land in Hawaiʻi is typically subject to degradation through the spread and impacts of noxious invasive plant species; feral pigs, goats, deer, sheep, and cattle; and heightened fire risk. We first provide a framework, and then review the science demonstrating the benefits of well-managed rangelands, for production of food; livelihoods; watershed services; climate security; soil health; fire risk reduction; biodiversity; and a wide array of cultural values. Findings suggest that rangelands, as part of a landscape mosaic, contribute to social and ecological health and well-being in Hawaiʻi. We conclude by identifying important knowledge gaps around rangeland ecosystem services and highlight the need to recognize rangelands and their stewards as critical partners in achieving key sustainability goals, and in bridging the long-standing production-conservation divide.