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THE NATURE CONSERVANCY, PALMYRA

Climate challenge: increased precipitation

grant award: $247,700; Year awarded: 2018

The Palmyra Atoll is home to the only rainforest in the region, including 11 species of seabirds, a diverse land crab community, a thriving coral reef, and a significant overwintering site for migratory shorebirds. While seabirds prefer to nest in native trees, most of Palmyra’s native tree species are threatened by climate-driven impacts such as shoreline erosion, saltwater intrusion into groundwater, changes in weather patterns, and increased storm activity. These effects are compounded by the species’ competition with non-native coconut palms. This project involves the removal of 99% of coconut palms and restoration of native trees on all National Wildlife Refuge and TNC-owned land at Palmyra. Restoring these trees for seabirds will enhance the spread of guano and therefore, the productivity of the land and reef. Reestablishing the seabird-derived nutrient pathway for the atoll will facilitate coral growth and could decrease the overall impact of sea level rise on the impacted terrestrial ecosystem.