Protecting Ka Mo'omeheu O Hawai'i: A Cultural Resources Risk Assessment
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractArchaeological and historic sites are important to contemporary societies all over the world, especially to peoples like the Kanaka Maoli, or Native Hawaiians, who have suffered the attempted theft of their culture and identity. The Hawaiian Island of Oahu is rich with cultural resources including over 2,000 archaeological and historic sites. Oahu is the most populated and industrial of the Hawaiian Islands and is not escaping climate change caused sea level rise and coastal erosion, so these sites are at risk of being damaged or lost. With so many cultural resources, it is difficult to discern what threatens each site via standard observation and field methods. In this study, a Cultural Resources Vulnerability Index is used to determine the level of risk for cultural resource sites on Oahu. This index combines both coastal vulnerability and anthropogenic risk factors as well as position on the island to provide a risk ranking. Coastal vulnerability includes flood zones, sea level rise, coastal erosion, elevation, and slope and anthropogenic factors include location in State Land Use Districts, population density, and air pollution. With such a rich density of cultural resources, this study illustrates how GIS can be used to examine multiple risks and ultimately ascertain which sites need immediate action. Lastly, a dashboard application is used for easy visualization of the results.