Environmental Management

, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 884–899 | Cite as

Opportunities and Strategies to Incorporate Ecosystem Services Knowledge and Decision Support Tools into Planning and Decision Making in Hawai‘i

  • Leah L. BremerEmail author
  • Jade M. S. Delevaux
  • James J. K. Leary
  • Linda J. Cox
  • Kirsten L. L. Oleson


Incorporating ecosystem services into management decisions is a promising means to link conservation and human well-being. Nonetheless, planning and management in Hawai‘i, a state with highly valued natural capital, has yet to broadly utilize an ecosystem service approach. We conducted a stakeholder assessment, based on semi-structured interviews, with terrestrial (n = 26) and marine (n = 27) natural resource managers across the State of Hawai‘i to understand the current use of ecosystem services (ES) knowledge and decision support tools and whether, how, and under what contexts, further development would potentially be useful. We found that ES knowledge and tools customized to Hawai‘i could be useful for communication and outreach, justifying management decisions, and spatial planning. Greater incorporation of this approach is clearly desired and has a strong potential to contribute to more sustainable decision making and planning in Hawai‘i and other oceanic island systems. However, the unique biophysical, socio-economic, and cultural context of Hawai‘i, and other island systems, will require substantial adaptation of existing ES tools. Based on our findings, we identified four key opportunities for the use of ES knowledge and tools in Hawai‘i: (1) linking native forest protection to watershed health; (2) supporting sustainable agriculture; (3) facilitating ridge-to-reef management; and (4) supporting statewide terrestrial and marine spatial planning. Given the interest expressed by natural resource managers, we envision broad adoption of ES knowledge and decision support tools if knowledge and tools are tailored to the Hawaiian context and coupled with adequate outreach and training.


Ecosystem services Decision support tool Hawai‘i Modeling Conservation Integrated management 



This work would not have been possible without funding from USDA Grants Hatch HAW01125-H and McIntire-Stennis HAW01120-M. We would also like to thank all of the natural resource managers and decision makers who generously shared their time and expertise with us during the interview process. We thank Creighton Litton and Chris Lepczyk for their input on the interview questionnaires and Lisa Mandle for helpful input on a draft of the manuscript. We also thank two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions that were integrated to improve the manuscript.

Supplementary material

267_2014_426_MOESM1_ESM.docx (21 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 20 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leah L. Bremer
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jade M. S. Delevaux
    • 1
  • James J. K. Leary
    • 1
  • Linda J. Cox
    • 1
  • Kirsten L. L. Oleson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Natural Resources and Environmental ManagementUniversity of Hawai‘i at ManoaHonoluluUSA
  2. 2.The Natural Capital Project, Woods Institute for the EnvironmentStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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