The acronym PABITRA stands for Pacific-Asia Biodiversity Transect, a network of island sites and conservation professionals collaborating throughout the Pacific-Asia region. An ideal PABITRA site is a broad landscape transect from sea to summit. Such a landscape is Kahana Valley on Windward O‘ahu. Kahana Valley served during prior centuries as an ahupua‘a, a Polynesian unit of land management that integrated the three biological resource zones, the upland forests, the agriculturally used land below, and the coastal zone, into a sustainable human support system. Results of terrestrial biodiversity surveys, as begun with a vegetation/environment study and a paleoecological investigation, are presented in relation to historical land use and sea level changes. In spite of the many former human-induced modifications of the Kahana Valley landscape, the natural structure and function of its ecosystems are well preserved. The distribution patterns of vegetation can be interpreted in terms of Hawaiian ecological zones in combination with the valley's precipitation, topography, stream system, and archaeological features. Currently, efforts are under way to restore the Kahana State Park (recently renamed Ahupua‘a ‘O Kahana State Park) as a functional ahupua‘a. In addition, focused collaborative research can yield helpful information for further restoration and integrated management of the Kahana ahupua‘a as a historic Hawaiian Heritage Site.
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Vol. 59 • No. 2