Island systems, developed in isolation from very few colonizers, are fragile and vulnerable to disturbance. The Hawaiian Islands, the most isolated island group in the world, are a worst case situation in terms of their vulnerability to outside influences. Here, species introduced by humans have adversely affected Hawaii native ecosystems for the last 1500 years. Small mammals, introduced plants, feral ungulates, exotic birds and invertebrates, and alien diseases have had devastating impacts upon a biota that developed in isolation, often in small population units.
Now, faced with a seemingly hopeless task in saving these remnant species, managers resort to extreme counter measures. Here the few old individual remaining cliff hugging plants, Brighami rockii, are hand pollinated since the original unknown insect or bird pollinator is one of those missing species.
Did You Know?
The Hawaiian place name, Kalaupapa, translates into "flat leaf" which is what the peninsula appears as off the north pali coast of the island of Moloka'i.