The historical ecology of an area can be best understood from a biocultural perspective in which human social systems and ecosystems are interrelated and interdependent. We utilized such a perspective to investigate the effects of socioeconomic, political, and cultural viewpoints on the intentional introduction of at least 91 game species to Hawai‘i over the past 230 years. Historical records of game species introductions and inter-island translocations were described in relation to historical events since European contact (1778). Changes in public opinion toward game shifted according to the prevailing cultural climate of the time, corresponding with historical periods that can be demarcated by five major political events: European contact (1778), the Kingdom of Hawai‘i (1819), the Territory of Hawai‘i (1898), the end of World War II (1945), and the Endangered Species Act (1973). In Hawai‘i, environmental management approaches have been integrated with changing cultural values, and the resultant game management policies have reflected shifting views of game species from valuable food sources to recreational sport to ecological nuisance. Such recognition of the interrelationship between politics, economics, and ecosystems allows us to better utilize past lessons to bring about future change by encouraging resource managers to consider cultural factors when formulating effective present and future ecological management goals.
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Vol. 75 • No. 1