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Issue 52014
December 30, 2014 
Staying Committed to Our Mission 
By Stephanie Nagata, Director, Office of Mauna Kea Management
In many cultures around the world, the end of every year is a time to reflect on the past 12 months and to prepare for the New Year. For the Office of Mauna Kea Management (OMKM), this past year was a very memorable one filled with its share of ups and downs, rewards and challenges. 
What helped me to place this year in perspective was the publication of the scientific journal, Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, Volume 46, No. 4 (2014 U
niversity of Colorado). This special issue contained an article entitled, "Losing the High Ground: rapid transformation of tropical island alpine and subalpine environments," co-authored by James Juvik, Christop Kueffert, Sonia Juvik and myself.  
No, I am not so impressed to see my name in print. Rather, the broader significance of the publication was that it included the papers-all of which were peer reviewed-that were presented at an international symposium that OMKM sponsored on the Big Island in August 2012.
The symposium, titled "Vulnerable Islands in the Sky: Science and Management of Tropical Island Alpine & Sub-Alpine Ecosystems," was hosted by OMKM in collaboration with the UHH Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, with support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. 
The symposium was a resounding success. It brought together leading scientists and professors from around the world who specialize in the study of tropical alpine and sub-alpine systems shared information to discuss common issues and concerns, and to establish a network for future collaboration. 
Participants from England, Scotland, Canary Islands, South Africa, Australia, Japan, and the U.S., including Hawaii, came together to present research on scientific findings being conducted in New Guinea and Southeast Asia, Papua Province, Indonesia, Mount Kinabalu, Dominican Republic, Canary Islands, the uplands of the Piton des Neiges volcano in the southwestern Indian Ocean, West Africa, tropical Andes, Haleakala and Mauna Kea.


The impetus for the symposium was driven by the University of Hawaii's statutory responsibility to manage the Mauna Kea Science Reserve, home to the world's greatest concentration of very large research telescopes. The organizers wished to gain a global perspective on the current state of atmospheric and terrestrial science relative to tropical island high mountains and various best-management practices for these fragile alpine and subalpine environments and the range of associated land use, cultural and environmental conflicts resulting from public use and development. 
Reading the journal reminded me of the new network of communication that was established among scientists dedicated to the study of tropical alpine and sub-alpine ecosystems, research collaborations, and the realization that shared knowledge can play an important role in helping to protect our tropical high mountains including Maunakea. 
OMKM looks forward to future research symposiums that will continue to be beneficial in mitigating impacts and developing strategies and solutions for protecting, preserving and enhancing the cultural and natural resources in University of Hawaii's management areas on Mauna Kea. 




The Office of Mauna Kea Management is charged with day-to-day management of the Mauna Kea Science Reserve as prescribed in the Master Plan. The adoption of the Mauna Kea Science Reserve Master Plan by the University of Hawaii Board of Regents in June 2000 marked a critical milestone in the management of Maunakea.


Meetings and public hearings spanning a period of nearly two years went into the formulation of the Master Plan, which established management guidelines for the next 20 years. The Master Plan reflected the community's deeply rooted concerns over the use of Maunakea, including respect for Hawaiian cultural beliefs, protection of environmentally sensitive habitat, recreational use of the mountain, and astronomy research.   

It places the focus of responsibility with the University of Hawaii at Hilo (UHH). The UH-Hilo Chancellor established the Office of Mauna Kea Management and the Board of Regents established the Mauna Kea Management Board in the fall of 2000. The Mauna Kea Management Board in turn formed Kahu Ku Mauna, a council comprised of Hawaiian cultural resource persons to serve as advisors.
eradicating fire weed



OMKM Mission

To achieve harmony, balance and trust in the sustainable management and stewardship of Mauna Kea Science Reserve through community involvement and programs that protect, preserve and enhance the natural, cultural and recreational resources of Maunakea while providing a world-class center dedicated to education, research and astronomy.