Global Warming May Have Severe Consequences for Rare Haleakala Silverswords Print E-mail

Tuesday, January, 15, 2013

Featured by USGS, a member of the U.S. Global Change Research Program

While the iconic Haleakalā silversword plant made a strong recovery from early 20th-century threats, it has now entered a period of substantial climate-related decline. New research published this week warns that global warming may have severe consequences for the silversword in its native habitat.

The Haleakalā silversword (Argyroxyphium sandwicense macrocephalum) grows only on a single volcano summit in Hawaiʻi, yet it is viewed by 1–2 million visitors annually at Haleakalā National Park. Although the decline and extinction of other rare species with small ranges (and the accompanying loss of biodiversity) can easily go unobserved and unappreciated, the silversword’s high profile makes it a good example with which to educate the public about global climate change. Read more.