Forest clearing & Habitat Loss
After the Polynesians arrived, large expanses of lowland forest were burned (or cleared) for agriculture. This initial loss of forest was exacerbated after the arrival of westerners in 1778. Europeans cleared additional forests for cattle ranching and development and over-harvested valuable timber species such as koa (Acacia koa) and sandalwood (Santalum sp). In addition, both Polynesians and Europeans introduced alien species to Hawai’i, which forever altered the native habitats and species.