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Abstract Detail

Conservation Biology

Chau, Marian M. [1].

The #OhiaLove Crowdfunding Campaign: Developing global participation in local conservation.

Crowdfunding has become a new paradigm in raising money for a business venture or to provide aid in a disaster situation. Funds are typically raised in small amounts from members of the general public via an online platform, and with the right marketing through social media, successful campaigns reach and exceed their fundraising goals. More recently, crowdfunding has been utilized to raise money for conducting scientific research, expanding the paradigm further and introducing a new funding source for researchers who have long relied on ever more competitive government and extramural grants. In the field of conservation, biologists and natural resource managers have experienced the same bottleneck in traditional funding sources and are beginning to take advantage of the opportunity provided by crowdfunding; however, the majority of campaigns have focused on animal conservation. In the state of Hawai‘i, a newly identified fungal disease called Rapid ??hi?a Death (ROD) has killed hundreds of thousands of ??hi?a (Metrosideros polymorpha) trees on Hawai‘i Island and affected over 34,000 acres. ??hi?a are the keystone species of our native forests, covering 865,000 acres statewide. Native birds, insects, and snails live in them and feed on them. Their canopy protects innumerable native understory plants, creating the watershed that feeds our streams and recharges our water supply. This tree also has immense cultural significance, symbolizing strength, beauty, and sanctity. Since spores of the ROD fungus may spread via beetle frass in wind currents, the disease may eventually spread to all islands, endangering all of our native forests, and no potential treatments or biocontrol methods are forthcoming. In the face of this crisis, the University of Hawai‘i - Lyon Arboretum Seed Conservation Laboratory launched a crowdfunding campaign to collect and preserve ??hi?a seeds from all islands for resistance testing and future forest restoration. The #OhiaLove Campaign exceeded its initial goal of $35,000 in two months, with over 400 donors, and raised awareness regarding ROD and plant conservation in general. Several factors contributed to its success, including several months of pre-launch planning, strategic social media campaigning, local media support from the University, and strong initial backing from the local community that led to broader support worldwide. The #OhiaLove Campaign can serve as a model for botanists and other practitioners to raise much needed funds and public awareness for plant conservation.

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Related Links:
The #OhiaLove Campaign

1 - Lyon Arboretum - University of Hawaii at Manoa, 3860 Manoa Road, Honolulu, HI, 96822, USA

Broadening Participation
seed banking.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 48, Conservation Biology II
Location: 204/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016
Time: 4:15 PM
Number: 48010
Abstract ID:799
Candidate for Awards:None

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