Scientists: Climate change could harm Maui plant

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HONOLULU (AP) — Scientists say the outlook is bleak for a rare Maui plant if current climate change trends continue.

They say the Haleakala silversword plant is increasingly under stress as the Maui volcano gets warmer and drier.

University of Hawaii biologist Paul Krushelnycky said Tuesday the plant illustrates how even well-protected and relatively abundant species may succumb to climate-induced stress.

He co-authored a paper on the topic published this week in the journal Global Change Biology.

Animals eating and visitors picking the plant jeopardized the species in the early 1900s.

Legal protections and fencing off the surrounding area to keep out animals helped the silversword recover. But the species has been declining again since the mid-1990s.

The silversword grows for decades before it reproduces once at the end of its life.

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