Northern Polynesia: The Hawaiian Islands
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.
KeywordsRain Forest Hawaiian Island Cloud Forest Tree Fern Montane Rain Forest
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.