The symposium, held in 2012, was hosted by the Office Mauna Kea Management in collaboration with UH Hilo.
The findings of an international symposium, “Vulnerable Islands in the Sky: Science and Management of Tropical Island Alpine & Sub-Alpine Ecosystems,” hosted by the Office of Mauna Kea Management (OMKM) in Hilo in 2012, were recently published in a scientific journal. The symposium was done in collaboration with the University of Hawai‘i Hilo Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences with support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
The scientific journal’s special issue, Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, Volume 46, No. 4 (©2014 University of Colorado) contains the article, entitled, “Losing the High Ground: rapid transformation of tropical island alpine and subalpine environments,” co-authored by James Juvik, Christop Kueffert, Sonia Juvik and Stephanie Nagata.
- “Introduction—Losing the High Ground: Rapid Transformation of Tropical Island Alpine and Subalpine Environments.” James Juvik, Christoph Kueffer, Sonia Juvik and Stephanie Nagata. pg(s) 705–708. Citation. Full Text. PDF (558 KB). Rights & Permissions.
“The broad significance of the scientific journal was that it included the papers–all of which were peer reviewed–that were presented at an international symposium that OMKM sponsored on the Big Island in late 2012,” says Nagata, director of the Office of Mauna Kea Management.
“The journal reminded me of the new network of communication that was established among scientists dedicated to the study of tropical alpine and sub-alpine ecosystems, research collaborations, and the realization that shared knowledge can play an important role in helping to protect our tropical high mountains including Maunakea.”
The impetus for the symposium was driven by UH statutory responsibility to manage the Mauna Kea Science Reserve, a culturally significant and environmentally sensitive site as well as the location of the world’s largest collection of telescopes.
The symposium organizers wished to gain a global perspective on the current state of atmospheric and terrestrial science relative to tropical island high mountains and various best-management practices for these fragile alpine and subalpine environments and the range of associated land use, cultural and environmental conflicts resulting from public use and development.
The symposium itself was a resounding success. It brought together leading scientists and professors from around the world who specialize in the study of tropical alpine and sub-alpine systems shared information to discuss common issues and concerns, and to establish a network for future collaboration.
Participants from England, Scotland, Canary Islands, South Africa, Australia, Japan, and the U.S., including Hawaii, came together to present research on scientific findings being conducted in New Guinea and Southeast Asia, Papua Province, Indonesia, Mount Kinabalu, Dominican Republic, Canary Islands, the uplands of the Piton des Neiges volcano in the southwestern Indian Ocean, West Africa, tropical Andes, Haleakala and Mauna Kea.
The Office of Maunakea Management looks forward to future research symposiums that will continue to be beneficial in mitigating impacts and developing strategies and solutions for protecting, preserving and enhancing the cultural and natural resources in University of Hawai‘i’s management areas on Maunakea.
The Office of Mauna Kea Management
The Office of Mauna Kea Management is charged with day-to-day management of Mauna Kea Science Reserve as prescribed in the Master Plan. The adoption of the Mauna Kea Science Reserve Master Plan by the UH Board of Regents in June 2000 marked a critical milestone in the management of Maunakea.
Meetings and public hearings spanning a period of nearly two years went into the formulation of the Master Plan, which established management guidelines for the next 20 years. The Master Plan reflected the community’s deeply rooted concerns over the use of Maunakea, including respect for Hawaiian cultural beliefs, protection of environmentally sensitive habitat, recreational use of the mountain, and astronomy research.
It places the focus of responsibility with UH Hilo. The UH Hilo chancellor established the Office of Mauna Kea Management and the Board of Regents established the Mauna Kea Management Board in the fall of 2000. The Mauna Kea Management Board in turn formed Kahu Ku Mauna, a council comprised of Hawaiian cultural resource persons to serve as advisors.
The mission of the Office of Mauna Kea Management is to achieve harmony, balance and trust in the sustainable management and stewardship of Mauna Kea Science Reserve through community involvement and programs that protect, preserve and enhance the natural, cultural and recreational resources of Maunakea while providing a world-class center dedicated to education, research and astronomy.