In the past, invasive alien plants have competed heavily with Hawaii’s natural plant life and have significantly reduced the Laysan finch’s nesting habitat (2). This has been brought under control now by the US Wildlife and Fisheries Service though these finches have not recovered (4). In the 20th century the Laysan finch suffered from predation and competition by introduced rats and rabbits, though once these alien species were exterminated, the finch populations recovered rapidly (2).
Other pressures on the island are taking their toll on this rare bird. Storms and droughts are extremely damaging and can destroy nests and sweep young and adult birds out to sea (3). Furthermore, global warming is a serious concern, as rising sea levels will have a profound impact on Layson Island, where the highest altitude is only 12 metres (3). Sea-levels are predicted to rise by 0.5-2.0 metres by 2100 and, as a consequence, the frequency and severity of hurricanes and droughts are expected to increase (2).