Lehua Island: Where the Water Meets the Shore

Restoration of Lehua’s terrestrial environment can benefit the island’s surrounding marine ecosystem.


Palmyra Atoll above and below. Credit: Island Conservation

Research has shown that restoration of native island ecosystems is vital to the health of surrounding marine ecosystems. Lehua Island is no exception; where the water meets the shore two very different yet connected environments interact. The health of one is crucial to the health of the other.

Connectivity between the health of terrestrial species and marine environment has been documented in the Line Islands where an island with native species showed clear signs of healthier marine habitat than islands with non-native species. Research has shown that in the Line Islands, thriving native vegetation corresponds with Manta Ray abundance. These ecological systems are held together by natural linkages that have formed over millennia. Seabirds, trading off time on land and time at sea, facilitate exchange of nutrients between these environments. Seabird vitality is therefore highly important for the integrity of these connections.

Introductions of non-native species can rapidly dissolve those interactions. Conservation efforts on Lehua Island are aimed at protecting native terrestrial species which will, in turn, allow the surrounding marine environment to thrive.

Featured photo: Lehua Island Shoreline. Credit: Island Conservation

About Island Conservation

Island Conservation prevents extinctions by removing invasive species from islands. To date, we have successfully restored 64 islands worldwide, benefiting 1195 populations of 487 species and subspecies. Working together with local communities, government management agencies, and conservation organizations, we select islands that have the greatest potential for preventing the extinction of globally threatened species.

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