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      Free Feb. 10 talk on “Using the distant past as a guide for future decision-making about restoring and managing coastal lands in Waiheʻe and other parts of Hawaiʻi” by Scott Fisher, PhD

      WAIHE’E, HI — How can the distant past be used as a guide for future decision-making about restoring and managing coastal lands and helping these ecosystems survive future challenges from rising sea levels and climate change? Learn more at a free Zoom presentation that focuses on the science of paleoecology, which is the study of interactions between organisms and their environments across geologic timescales, by Scott Fisher, PhD, Chief Conservation Officer at Hawaiian Islands Land Trust (HILT). The talk will take place on Wednesday, February 10, and will be hosted by Maui Nui Marine Resource Council as part of its “Know Your Ocean Speaker Series.”

      Dr. Fisher’s presentation will be shared via Zoom and is free of charge and open to all who wish to attend. Advance reservations are required and are free. To reserve your spot, visit http://bit.ly/HILTpast

      Fisher and the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust staff are using sediment coring at locations such as Nu`u Pond to extract and examine micro-fossils embedded in the sediment. They are working to understand past ecosystems on HILT lands, particularly the function and composition of vegetation across landscapes. For example, what plants and organisms were most dominant approximately 2,000 years ago, long before the first humans arrived on Maui? How were they capable of withstanding substantial ecological disturbances, such as floods and tsunami? What can be learned from this natural history to better manage coastal lands in Waiheʻe and other parts of Hawaiʻi to make them more resilient to a changing global climate?

      “As climate change brings about substantive changes to our islands, we need to discern ways of adapting to more intense storms, sea level rise and loss of coastal ecosystems,” said Dr. Fisher. “The past holds the key to the future, and by learning about the past, we can better understand how to restore, adapt and change in order to make our islands and nearshore coral reefs more resilient.”

      Maui Nui Marine Resource Council’s “Know Your Ocean Speaker Series” events are held monthly via Zoom. Support for these events is provided by the County of Maui Mayor’s Office of Economic Development.

      The emcee for this event is Darla Palmer-Ellingson, local radio show host of the public affairs program, Island Environment 360 Maui’s only commercially broadcast public affairs show on environmental and related Hawaiian cultural topics, aired on the stations of H-Hawaii Media.

      For reservations, visit http://bit.ly/HILTpast

      About Scott Fisher, PhD:

      Scott grew up in Kula, and at age 17 enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. After his discharge, he studied at Colorado State University. Scott’s graduate work includes an M.A. in Peace Studies with a concentration in Native Hawaiian Strategies of Peacemaking and Reconciliation. His PhD. explored the dynamics of post-conflict recovery in a civil war on the island of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea, with a particular emphasis on how communities make wise decisions about conflicts over natural resources. Scott also holds a graduate certificate in ecological restoration from the University of Idaho.

      Since 2003 Scott has worked for the Maui Coastal Land Trust, first as a project manager at the land trust’s 277-acre Waihe‘e Coastal Dunes and Wetlands Refuge and is now the Chief Conservation Officer for the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust.  In this capacity he has been involved in all aspects of ecological restoration work on land trust properties. In 2017 Scott began a three-year research fellowship in Paleoecology with the University of Leicester in England. With materials collected in Hawai`i, and with the assistance of the Quaternary Palaeoecology Working Group, his research was able to reconstruct the dominant floral species at Waihe`e over the past 12,000 years (since the beginning of the Holocene). More recently Scott has been consulting with the US Forest Service on a wetlands restoration project in western Madagascar.

      About Hawaiian Islands Land Trust:
      The Hawaiian Islands Land Trust (HILT) is a state-wide land conservation organization dedicated to protecting the lands that sustain Hawaiʻi, while teaching future generations to do the same. HILT’s mission is to protect and steward the lands that sustain Hawaiʻi, and to perpetuate Hawaiian values by connecting people with ʻāina. Throughout ka pae`āina (the Hawaiian archipelago) HILT has protected over 20,000 acres through both fee ownership and conservation easements.

      About Maui Nui Marine Resource Council: 

      Maui Nui Marine Resource Council is a community-based nonprofit organization celebrating 13 years of working for healthy coral reefs, clean ocean water and abundant native fish throughout Maui County. Our work includes co-managing the Hui O Ka Wai Ola Ocean Water Quality Monitoring Program in South and West Maui, efforts to reduce pollution in Mā‘alaea Bay (through erosion-control efforts in the Pohakea watershed and using oysters to filter sediment and pollutants from ocean water), coral reef research, visitor education programs and more. Learn more at www.mauireefs.org.

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