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Scientists & Staff

Christian P. Giardina

Research Ecologist
Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry
60 Nowelo Street
Hilo, Hawaii 96720
Phone: 808-854-2619

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Research Interests

My current research interests include: forest responses to global change; restoration of ecosystem processes in degraded landscapes; and, production ecology and biogeochemistry. This research is important because nutrient cycles determine site fertility and site fertility drives ecosystem productivity, which influence ecosystem food webs. Further, nutrient and carbon cycles are tightly coupled, and carbon cycling has effects on atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations, which regulate global climate. Global climate influences local climate, with impacts on site fertility, productivity and biodiversity. Currently, I am studying how climate change can be incorporated into landscape restoration and management efforts.

Why This Research is Important

This research is important because global change (climate change,land use, invasive species) are altering nutrient and carbon cycles, which drive site fertility and ecosystem productivity, and cause losses of native species. Global change can also alter forest structure. Taken together these changes can feed back on carbon and nutrient cycles, with negative effects on global climate.

Publications & Products

National Research Highlights

Effects of Rising Temperature on Carbon Cycling and Storage in Ecosystems (2012)
Scientists find that as ecosystems warm, they store more carbon, not less


Soil Carbon Storage in Tropical Montane Forests is Insensitive to Warming (2014)
Soils contain more carbon than the atmosphere and all plant biomass combined. There is fear that warming will greatly increase the net release of this soil carbon to the atmosphere through accelerated decomposition. A research team lead by Forest Service scientists have tested this important theory by investigating how soil carbon stocks changed with temperature across nine permanent plots on windward Hawai‘i Island. The plots are arrayed across a highly constrained 5 degree Celsius mean annual temperature gradient. They found that soil carbon stocks and their turnover were insensitive to warming. And while soil respiration increased with warming, the increase was explained entirely by increased plant productivity, not by accelerated decomposition.


Last updated on : 12-Jun-2015