Avifaunal Extinctions, Vegetation Change, and Polynesian Impacts in Prehistoric Hawai`i

  title={Avifaunal Extinctions, Vegetation Change, and Polynesian Impacts in Prehistoric Hawai`i},
  author={John Stephen Athens and H. David Toggle and Jerome V. Ward and David J. Welch},
  journal={Archaeology in Oceania},
Abstract Pre-contact avifaunal extinctions in Hawai`i generally have been attributed to human predation and/or landscape alteration by colonizing Polynesians. However, until recently there have been insufficient data for evaluating most of the important variables involved in this issue. This situation has changed with recent archaeological, paleontological, and wetland coring research conducted on O`ahu's `Ewa Plain, a hot, dry emerged limestone reef characterized by numerous sinkholes. The… 

Rattus exulans and the catastrophic disappearance of Hawai’i’s native lowland forest

  • J. S. Athens
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Biological Invasions
  • 2008
It is hypothesized that rats, introduced by Polynesian colonizers, increased exponentially in the absence of significant predators or competitors, feeding on a largely endemic vegetation that had evolved in the presence of mammalian predators.

Forest clearance and agricultural expansion on Rapa, Austral Archipelago, French Polynesia

Palynological records from Holocene wetland deposits in East Polynesia have demonstrated widespread ecological changes following Polynesian arrival after c. ad 1200, but linking inferences of human

Holocene Vegetation, Savanna Origins and Human Settlement of Guam

Palaeoenvironmental investigations not only provide information about past climate, geomorphological changes, and vegetation, but also can give a unique and complementary perspective to

Prehistoric introduction and extinction of animals in Mangareva, Southeast Polynesia

It is suggested that rats, and not human predation, were responsible for the early local extinction of the chicken in the prehistoric sequence for Mangareva, southeast Polynesia.

Dating the late prehistoric dispersal of Polynesians to New Zealand using the commensal Pacific rat

Radiocarbon dates on distinctive rat-gnawed seeds and rat bones show that the Pacific rat was introduced to both main islands of New Zealand ≈1280 A.D., a millennium later than previously assumed, implying there was no long period of invisibility in either the archaeological or palaeoecological records.

Lost bioscapes: Floristic and arthropod diversity coincident with 12th century Polynesian settlement, Nuku Hiva, Marquesas Islands

Knowledge of biodiversity in the past, and the timing, nature, and drivers of human-induced ecological change, is important for gaining deep time perspectives and for modern conservation efforts. The

Anthropogenically driven decline and extinction of Sapotaceae on Nuku Hiva (Marquesas Islands, East Polynesia)

The native forests of the central and eastern Pacific Islands were extensively modified by Polynesian settlers, but our understanding of these processes is generalised. In the first large study of

Paleoecology and “inter‐situ” restoration on Kaua'i, Hawai'i

Paleoecological findings support the idea that creating new populations in formerly much larger, late prehistoric and early historical ranges of declining species may provide a reliable and cost-effective hedge against extinction.

Extinction patterns in the avifauna of the Hawaiian islands

This first systematic analysis of the factors characterizing the species that went extinct in each time period and those that survived in order to provide a clearer picture of the possible causal mechanisms underlying the two waves of extinction is presented.

Vegetation History of Laysan Island, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands

ABSTRACT Paleoenvironmental investigations were undertaken on Laysan Island in the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to investigate its flora before historical observations. Substantial impacts



The Role of Seabirds in Hawaiian Subsistence: Implications for Interpreting Avian Extinction and Extirpation in Polynesia

The extinction of Hawaiian birds has been of interest to many archaeologists and paleontologists. The present subfossil evidence indicates that humans affected the abundance of these birds either

The Impact of the Prehistoric Polynesians on the Hawaiian Ecosystem

Evidence obtained from archaeological and ancillary studies of paleoenvironment suggests that the prehistoric Polynesians had a far greater impact on the Hawaiian ecosystem than has heretofore been

Environmental Change and Prehistoric Polynesian Settlement in Hawai'i

IT HAS NOW BEEN A LITTLE MORE than a decade since Patrick Kirch (1982a) summarized the available and rather uneven evidence for environmental change in Hawai'i, compiling information from both

Archaeological and Paleontological Salvage at Barbers Point, Oahu

Abstract : The archaeological salvage examined five sites, four previously known and one newly located. Twenty-five portable artifacts (from six archaeological sites and one paleontological site)

The diet and ecology of Hawaii's extinct flightless waterfowl: evidence from coprolites

The results support the contention that these birds were primarily folivorous, and further suggest that ferns were important in the diet, and support the hypothesis of plant/herbivore coevolution between extinct avian herbivores and native Hawaiian lobelias.

Sea-level Highstand Recorded in Holocene Shoreline Deposits on Oahu, Hawaii

ABSTRACT Unconsolidated carbonate sands and cobbles on Kapapa Island, windward Oahu, are 1.4-2.8 (± 0.25) m above present mean sea level (msl). Agreeing with Stearns (1935), we interpret the deposit

Prehistoric extinctions and ecological changes on oceanic islands

The body of ecological theory that relates specifically to islands was developed mainly through inference from modern patterns of diversity. Observations of process are limited, because they are

Microscopic charcoal as a fossil indicator of fire

Radiocarbon dates on bones of extinct birds from Hawaii.

  • H. JamesT. Stafford P. McCoy
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 1987
Bones from a stratified sedimentary deposit in the Puu Naio Cave site on Maui, Hawaiian Islands, reveal the late Holocene extinction of 19 species of birds, indicating that sediment has been accumulating in the lava tube for at least the last 7750 years, a suitable time frame for testing the hypothesis thatHolocene extinction on islands began after human colonization.

Prodromus of the fossil avifauna of the Hawaiian Islands

Olson, Storrs L., and Helen F. James. Prodromus of the Fossil Avifauna of the Hawaiian Islands. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, number 365, 59 pages, 12 figures, 1982.—In the past decade,