Developing an Agroforestry Dashboard for the Marshall Islands

Project Summary

Affiliation(s): Pacific Islands CSC

Principal Investigator(s):
  • Maria Haws (University of Hawai`i at Hilo)

Agriculture and agroforestry (tree cultivation) are important activities for the Marshall Islands and other small islands to ensure food security and human health. The Marshallese have a long tradition of interplanting food-producing trees such as coconuts, breadfruit, and pandanus with bananas and root and vegetable crops. Locally grown food crops support community self-sufficiency, promote good nutrition, and can also serve as windbreaks and stabilize shorelines to lessen storm damage and erosion. However, climate change is posing serious challenges for growers, as they struggle to adapt to climate impacts including saltwater intrusion, changing precipitation and temperature patterns, and the spread of invasive species.

The goal of this project is to provide Marshallese agricultural producers with information and resources that will help them adapt their growing practices to changing climate conditions. Researchers are creating a living website that provides clear, actionable farming information displayed in a dashboard format. Users can find information in English and Marshallese about seasonal rainfall, winds, and sea level as well as agricultural calendars based on El Niño/ La Niña. The website also provides facts on traditional growing practices and timings, crop tolerances, and nutrition. Pages can be downloaded, printed, and distributed by local agricultural extension services.

This project is being implemented by Marshallese partners at the Ministry of Resources and Development, College of the Marshall Islands, and Land Grant program, and external partners from the University of Hawaiʻi, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The Marshall Islands - Credit: Sarah Nash

Affiliation(s): Pacific Islands CSC

Principal Investigator(s):
  • Maria Haws (University of Hawai`i at Hilo)
  • Jonathan Deenik (University of Hawai`i at Mānoa)
  • Kathleen Friday (USDA Forest Service)
  • Anthony Ingersoll (USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS))
  • Rebecca Lorennij (Republic of the Marshall Islands, Ministry of Resources & Development)
  • Karl Fellenius (College of the Marshall Islands/Sea Grant)
  • John Marra (NOAA)

Start Date: October 2014

End Date: September 2017

Project Status: In Progress

Tags: CSC, Pacific Islands CSC, 2014, Agroforestry, Sea level rise, Marshall Islands, Water and Ice, Wildlife and Plants, Landscapes, Education, Modeling and Tools, Sea-Level Rise and Coasts, Plants, Other Landscapes, Decision-Making Support and Tools

Fiscal Year: FY 2014 Projects

Publications & Other

  • Project Snapshot: "Vegetative Guide & Dashboard" Relating Traditional Atoll Agroforestry Recommendations to Predicted Climate and Sea Level Conditions in the Marshall Islands

    • PICSC_ResearchFeature_Haws_Friday_RMI_Agroforestry.pdf (Download)


    • Agroforestry in the Climate of the Marshall Islands: "green website"

      • Literature review and report: "Background Information for 'Agroforestry in the Climate of the Marshall Islands' Extension Website"

        • USDA NRCS Plant Materials Technical Note 11: Coral Atoll Agroforestry Plan Screener

          • PM_TN11_RMI_PlantScreener_3-2017.xlsm Technical Note (Download)