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Susan Cordell

Susan Cordell
Director, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry
Urban Ecosystems and Social Dynamics Program
60 Nowelo Street
Hilo, HI 96720-6805
United States
Current Research
Long-term research: how ecosystem structure, function, dynamics, and composition respond to stressors and change.

Enhancing platforms for research, monitoring and science exchange.

Restoration Ecology: Restoring ecosystem services in the Anthropocene.

Ecosystem level impacts of invasive species on Hawaiian forest ecosystems.

Biocultural Science and Stewardship.

Research Interest

Ecophysiology, Restoration Ecology, Functional Ecology, Tropical Dry Ecosystems, Grass Invasions, Hawaiian Ecosystems

Future Research

Continue developing research and collaborating with local communities to advance effective conservation, preservation, and restoration-related land management efforts.

Why This Research Is Important

These research themes represent an articulation of future Institute research and our vision to continue developing next generation understanding of landscape change, testing of conservation based tools, facilitating the production of knowledge to improve the ecological condition of native ecosystems of the Pacific, enhance the sustainability of resource use in our region, and maintain the quality of life for those in our Pacific community. Institute Scientists have identified research themes as representing the frontiers of natural resources science and management in Hawai‘i and the US Affiliated Pacific, but also frontiers in tropical ecology and natural resources science broadly.

  • University of Hawaii, Ph.D., Botany, 1999
  • University of Hawaii, M.S., Botany, 1996
  • Santa Barbara, B.A., Aquatic Biology, 1987
Professional Experience
  • Research Ecologist,  USDA Forest Service, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry,  2000 - Current
Professional Organizations
  • Member,  Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation,  2012 - Current
  • Member,  IUCN Species Survival Commission,  2011 - Current
  • Member,  Ecological Society of America,  2007 - Current
  • Officeholder,  Organization for Tropical Studies,  2004 - Current
  • Member,  American Geophysical Union,  2003 - Current
  • Member,  Society for Ecological Restoration,  2000 - Current
  • Member,  Botanical Society of America,  1994 - Current
Other Publications
Research Highlights

Breaking the Grass-Fire Cycle in Dryland Ecosystems in Hawai'i

Year: 2012
Scientists develop practical tools to manage and restore tropical dry forest landscapes on military lands in the Pacific

Pacific Fire Exchange Is the Hottest Partnership in the Pacific

Year: 2012
A new collaboration promotes and uses the best available science to reduce wildfire management costs and improve land managers' ability to protect people and natural resources

Greenstrips in Hawaii protect high value ecosystems from fire

Year: 2017
The purpose of the greenstrip study was to test a tool that has been used in parts of the arid continental U.S. to protect high value ecosystems from fire. Forest Service researchers wanted to identify species for restoration that would not only reduce the incidence of invasive grasses and, subseque...

Hawaii Vegetation Fire Risk Web Tool

Year: 2011
Fires in Hawai'i are fueled mainly by invasive, perennial grasses, since they maintain aboveground live and senescent biomass throughout the year. A fire fuel index for the Island of Hawai'i has been developed using NASA Terra satellite data of vegetation cover.