University of Hawai‘i at Manoa
Skip Breadcrumb

Last updated on Friday, December 15, 2017    Make updates ->

Creighton  Litton

Name :

Creighton Litton

Title :


Unit :

Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management

Address :

1910 East-West Road
                  Honolulu, HI 96822

Room :

Sherman Lab 240

Phone :

(808) 956-6004

Fax :

(808) 956-6539

E-mail :

Website :

Specialties :

Forest ecology and management; terrestrial ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry; global change biology; restoration ecology; invasive species ecology; disturbance ecology

Professional Prep/Appointments :

2002    Ph.D.  Botany, University of Wyoming, Department of Botany, Laramie, Wyoming

1994    M.S.  Forest Resources, School of Forest Resources, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina

1991    B.A.  Environmental Studies, Emory and Henry College, Emory, Virginia

Projects :

Please see

Courses Taught:

NREM 480 Applied Forest Ecology
NREM 680 Ecosystem Ecology
NREM 682 Restoration Ecology
BOT/NREM/ZOOL 690 Conservation Biology

Professional Interests :

  • Impacts of invasive species, land use change, and climate change on forest ecosystem structure and function
  • Disturbance ecology of tropical forests
  • Restoration of terrestrial ecosystem structure and function
  • Carbon input, allocation and storage in terrestrial ecosystems
  • Outdoor, immersive youth environmental education

Selected Recent Publications :

 Undergraduate, M.S. and Ph.D. students, and Postdoctoral scientists are underlined and indicated with superscripts (UG, MS, PhD, PD, respectively)

In Review/Revision

Hughes, R.F., Asner, G.P, Litton, C.M., Selmants, P.C.PD, Giardina, C.P., and Jacobi, J. In revision. Effects of invasive plant species on carbon storage in Hawaiian ecosystems. Pacific Science.

Iwashita, D.MS, Litton, C.M., and Giardina, C.P. In revision. Temperature impacts on tree species diversity in Hawaiian montane wet forest. Pacific Conservation Biology.


Wehr, N.MS, Hess, S.C., and Litton, C.M. In press. Biology and impacts of Pacific Island invasive species. Sus scrofa, the feral pig (Artiodactyla: Suidae). Pacific Science.

Ellsworth, L.M.PhD, Dale, A.P., Litton, C.M., and Miura, T. 2017. Improved fuel moisture prediction in non-native tropical Megathyrsus maximus grasslands using Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) derived vegetation indices. International Journal of Wildland Fire: In press.

Powell, K.MS, Ellsworth, L.M.PhD, Litton, C.M., Oleson, K.L.L., and Ammondt, S.MS. 2017. Towards cost-effective restoration: Scaling up restoration in ecosystems degraded by nonnative invasive grass and ungulates. Pacific Science 71:479-493.

Rowe, J.PhD, Litton, C.M., Lepczyk, C.A., and Popp, B.N. 2017. Impacts of endangered seabirds on nutrient cycling in montane forest ecosystems of Hawaii. Pacific Science 71:495-509.

Hawbaker, T.J., Trauernicht, C., Howard, S.M., Litton, C.M., Giardina, C.P., Jacobi, J.D., Fortini, L.B., Hughes, R.F., Selmants, P.C., and Zhu, Z. 2017. Wildland Fires and Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Hawaii. Pages 57-73 in P. C. Selmants, C. P. Giardina, J. D. Jacobi, and Z. Zhu, editors. Baseline and projected future carbon storage and carbon fluxes in ecosystems of Hawai‘i. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1834.

Long, M.S.MS, Litton, C.M., Giardina, C.P., Deenik, J., Cole, R.J.PD, and Sparks, J.P. 2017. Impact of nonnative feral pig removal on soil structure and nutrient availability in Hawaiian tropical montane wet forests. Biological Invasions 19: 749-763.

Pierre, S.PhD, Hewson, I., Sparks, J., Litton, C.M., Giardina, C.P., Groffman, P. and Fahey, T. 2017. Ammonia oxidizer populations vary with nitrogen cycling across a tropical montane mean annual temperature gradient. Ecology 98: 1896-1907.

Sleeter, B.M., Liu, J., Daniel, C.J., Hawbaker, T.J., Wilson, T.S., Fortini, L.B., Jacobi, J.D., Selmants, P.C., Giardina, C.P., Litton, C.M., and Hughes, R.F. 2017. Projected future carbon storage and carbon fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems of Hawai‘i from changes in climate, land use, and disturbance. Pages 107-128 in P. C. Selmants, C. P. Giardina, J. D. Jacobi, and Z. Zhu, editors. Baseline and projected future carbon storage and carbon fluxes in ecosystems of Hawai‘i. U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 1834.

Sumiyoshi, Y. MS, Crow, S.E., Litton, C.M., Deenik, J.L., Taylor, A.D., Turano, B., and Ogoshi, R. 2016. Belowground impacts of perennial grass cultivation for sustainable biofuel feedstock production in the tropics. Global Change Biology Bioenergy 9: 694-709.

Selmants, P.C.PD, Adair, K.L., Litton, C.M., and Giardina, C.P., and Schwartz, E. 2016. Increases in mean annual temperature do not alter soil bacterial community structure in tropical montane wet forests. Ecosphere 7:e01296.

Ellsworth, L.M.PhD, Litton, C.M., and Leary, J.J.K. 2015. Restoration impacts on fuels and fire potential in a dryland tropical ecosystem dominated by the invasive grass Megathyrsus maximus. Restoration Ecology 23:955-963.

Friday, J.B., Cordell, S., Giardina, C.P., Inman-Narahari, F., Koch, N., Leary, J.J.K., Litton, C.M., and Trauernicht, C. 2015. Future directions for forest restoration in Hawai‘i. New Forests 46: 733-746.

Trauernicht, C., Pickett, E., Giardina, C., Litton, C.M., Cordell, S. and Beavers, A. 2015. The scale and context of wildfire in Hawai‘i. Pacific Science 69:427-444.

Evans, E.W.MS, Ellsworth L.M.PhD, and Litton, C.M. 2015. Impact of grazing on fine fuels and potential fire behavior in a nonnative tropical grassland. Pacific Conservation Biology 21: 126-132.

Chynoweth, M.W.MS, Lepczyk, C.A., Litton, C.M., Hess, S.C., Kellner, J.R. and Cordell, S. 2015. Dispersal and home range use of non-native feral goats in a tropical island montane dry landscape. PLOS ONE 10(3): e0119231. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0119231.

Pierce, A.PD, McDaniel, S., Wasser, M., Ainsworth, A., Litton, C.M., Giardina, C.P, and Cordell, S. 2014. Using a prescribed fire to test custom and standard fuel models for fire behavior prediction in a non-native, grass-invaded tropical dry shrubland.  Applied Vegetation Science 17: 700-710.

Ellsworth, L.M.PhD, Litton, C.M., Dale, A., and Miura, T. 2014. Invasive grasses change landscape structure and fire behavior in Hawaii. Applied Vegetation Science 17: 680-689.

Bothwell, LoriUG, Selmants, P.C.PD, Giardina, C.P. and Litton, C.M. 2014. Leaf litter decomposition rates increase with rising mean annual temperature in Hawaiian tropical montane wet forests. PeerJ 2: e685.

Giardina, C.P., Litton, C.M., Crow, S.E., and Asner, G.P. 2014. Increased total belowground carbon flux, and not soil carbon loss, drives temperature related increases in soil respiration. Nature Climate Change 4: 822-827.

Selmants, P.C.PD, Litton, C.M., Giardina, C.P. and Asner, G.P. 2014. Ecosystem carbon storage does not vary with mean annual temperature in Hawaiian tropical montane wet forests. Global Change Biology 20: 2927-2937.

Mascaro, J., Litton, C.M., Hughes, R.F., Uowolo, A. and Schnitzer, S.A. 2014. Is logarithmic transformation necessary in allometry? Ten, one-hundred, one-thousand-times yes. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 111: 230-233.

Cole, R.J.PD and Litton, C.M. 2014. Vegetation response to removal of nonnative feral pigs from Hawaiian tropical montane wet forest. Biological Invasions 16: 125-140.

Murphy, M.UG, Inman-Narahari, F., Ostertag, R., and Litton, C.M. 2014. Invasive feral pigs reduce tree fern growth and survival in a native-dominated Hawaiian montane wet forest. Biological Invasions 16: 63-71.

Ellsworth, L.M.PhD, Litton, C.M., Taylor, A.D, and Kauffman, J.B. 2013. Spatial and temporal variability of Megathyrsus maximus fuel loads and moisture on Oahu, Hawaii. International Journal of Wildland Fire 22: 1083-1092.

Chynoweth, M.W. MS, Litton, C.M., Lepczyk, C.A., Hess, S.C. and Cordell, S. 2013. Biology and impacts of Pacific Island invasive species. 9. Capra hircus, the feral goat (Mammalia: Bovidae). Pacific Science 67: 141-156.

Iwashita, D.MS, Litton, C.M., and Giardina, C. 2013. Coarse woody debris carbon storage across a mean annual temperature gradient in tropical montane wet forest. Forest Ecology and Management 291: 336-343.

Ammondt, S.MS, Litton, C.M., Ellsworth, L.M.PhD and Leary, J.K. 2013. Restoration of native plant communities in a Hawaiian lowland dry ecosystem dominated by the invasive grass Megathyrsus maximus. Applied Vegetation Science 16: 29-39.

Ammondt, S.MS and Litton, C.M. 2012. Competition between native Hawaiian plants and the invasive grass Megathyrsus maximus: Implications of functional diversity for ecological restoration. Restoration Ecology 20: 638-646.

Cole, R.J.PD, Litton, C.M., Koontz, M.K.UG and Loh, R.K. 2012. Vegetation recovery 16 years after feral pig removal from a wet Hawaiian forest. Biotropica 44: 463-471.

Litton, C.M., Giardina, C.P., Albano, J.K.UG, Long, M.S.MS and Asner, G.P. 2011. The magnitude and variability of soil-surface CO2 efflux increase with temperature in Hawaiian tropical montane wet forests. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 43: 2315-2323.

Mascaro, J., Litton, C.M., Hughes, R.F., Uowolo, A. and Schnitzer, S.A. 2011. Minimizing bias in biomass allometry: Model selection and log-transformation of data. Biotropica 43:649-653.

Dunkell, D.O.MS, Bruland, G.L., Evensen, C.I. and Litton, C.M. 2011. Sediment transport, and effects of feral pig (Sus scrofa) exclusion in a forested Hawaiian watershed. Pacific Science 65: 175-194.

Ise, T.PD, Litton, C.M., Giardina, C.P. and Ito, A. 2010. Comparison of modeling approaches for carbon partitioning: Impact on estimates of global net primary production and equilibrium biomass of woody vegetation from MODIS GPP. Journal of Geophysical Research 115:G04025, doi:04010.01029/02010JG001326.

Thaxton, J.M., Cole, T.C., Cordell, S., Cabin, R.J., Sandquist, D. and Litton, C.M. 2010. Native species regeneration following ungulate exclusion and non-native grass removal in a remnant Hawaiian dry forest. Pacific Science 64: 533-544.

Litton, C.M. and Giardina, C.P. 2008. Belowground carbon flux and partitioning: Global patterns and response to temperature. Functional Ecology 22: 941-954.

Litton, C.M., and Kauffman, J.B. 2008. Allometric models for predicting aboveground biomass in two widespread woody plants in Hawaii, U.S.A. Biotropica 40: 313-320.

Litton, C.M., Sandquist, D.R. and Cordell, S. 2008. A non-native invasive grass increases soil carbon flux in a Hawaiian tropical dry forest. Global Change Biology 14: 726-739.

Litton, C.M., Ryan, M.G. and Raich, J.W. 2007. Review: Carbon allocation patterns in forest ecosystems. Global Change Biology 13: 2089-2109.

Giardina, C.P., Litton, C.M., Thaxton, J.M., Cordell, S., Hadway, L.J. and Sandquist, D.R. 2007. Science driven restoration: A candle in a demon haunted world–Response to Cabin (2007). Restoration Ecology 15: 171-176.

Languages :

English, Spanish