Plant communities on tropical high islands, such as the Hawaiian Islands, are predicted to
experience rapid climate change, resulting in novel climates. If increased temperature and/
or drought exceed plant species’ current tolerances, species that are unable to adapt or shift
ranges risk extinction. By definition, habitat generalists have a wide niche breadth and thrive
in a variety of habitats, whereas habitat specialists have a narrow niche breadth, and typically
thrive under more specific climatic characteristics (e.g., cold). The objectives of this
study were to: (1) classify plant species in the Hawaiian Islands along a habitat generalistspecialist
continuum; (2) independently test the validity of species rankings, using environmental
and biogeographic ranges; and (3) identify species’ life-history traits that predict species
location along the continuum.