The Research Project

Wind is one of the major erosional forces on the island, creating difficult conditions for the revegetation efforts of the Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission. These lines of tamarisk trees were planted to provide a windbreak, which was expected to enhance vegetation growth in the lee of the trees. The object of your research expedition is to assess the success of the project.

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Tamarisk trees planted as a windbreak

This instrument, an anemometer, is used to measure windspeed. This fixed position station is set up on the windward side of the tamarisk treelines, to measure the windspeed before it reaches the windbreak. Such a measurement is used as a control in an experiment.

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U.H. Geography student Brad Evans standing next to the fixed anemometer. Average windspeeds at this station measured 14.5 mph.

The prevailing winds at the research site at Lua Makika are so strong they have altered the direction of growth of the tamarisk trees.

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This photo shows wind deformation of a tamarisk treeline. Average height of the trees is 2 to 3 meters.

Another anemometer is set up on a wooden plank to provide a mobile instrument for measuring windspeed in the lee of the tamarisk treelines. Your job is to move this mobile anemometer along a line perpendicular to the treelines, making measurements at equal intervals. Later, you'll compare windspeeds at the fixed site windward of the tamarisk treelines with the windspeeds at the mobile anemometer sites. If the treelines are effective at reducing windspeeds in their lee, they could be used to provide shelter to seedlings planted in the revegetation efforts.

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Mobile anemometer measuring windspeed within one of the treelines.

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Author: Cristina Lumpkin
Copyright by Cristina Lumpkin
Curator Lori Glaze
Copyright © 1996
All Rights Reserved.