Northern Polynesia: The Hawaiian Islands

  • Dieter Mueller-Dombois
  • F. Raymond Fosberg
Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD)


The Hawaiian Islands are the most isolated archipelago in the world. They are 3,765 km from the nearest continental land mass, North America, and 3,350 km from the Marquesas, the nearest archipelago of high islands. At least partly as the result of this isolation, the native flora of flowering plants of these islands is 96% endemic (St. John 1973; or 89%, according to a more recent estimate by Wagner et al. 1990). Thus, the composition of the vegetation is unique. This means that the plant associations in the vegetation are also unique. Over a hundred of these have been described for the Hawaiian Islands by Gagné and Cuddihy (1990). At the formation level the distinctness is much less obvious, as structure and function, the two critical attributes of vegetation formations, appear to be almost independent of composition. However, a significant interdependency has been discovered for the Hawaiian rain forest. This will be explained in the concluding chapter.


Rain Forest Hawaiian Island Cloud Forest Tree Fern Montane Rain Forest 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dieter Mueller-Dombois
    • 1
  • F. Raymond Fosberg
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BotanyUniversity of Hawai’i at MānoaHonoluluUSA
  2. 2.Museum of Natural HistorySmithsonian InstitutionUSA

Personalised recommendations