Threatened tree conservation in Hawaii

Threatened tree conservation in Hawaii

Securing survival and increasing ecological stability of seven of Hawai’i’s most endangered endemic tree species through ecological restoration.

Partner: Friends of Auwahi Forest Restoration Project
Years: 2022-2025

This project aims to conserve seven endemic and threatened tree species in Hawaii by increasing their population number and density, improving their reproductive potential and resilience, restoring their habitat and increasing awareness raising efforts.

Bagging Alani Seed

Seven native Hawaiian tree species and their associated forest have reached the point that if no corrective actions are taken, it is very likely extinction will occur in the next few decades. Many of the original drivers that have caused their near extinction and ecosystem collapse are still unaddressed regionally, and the impacts remain pervasive. Though the Auwahi forest restoration areas are relatively small in total number of hectares, these areas harbor the richest remaining dry forest in the Hawaiian Islands and offer the most optimum site for recovering reproductive populations of seven highly endangered, endemic Hawaiian tree species and ecological restoration of their forest environs.

This proposal aims to stabilize these seven tree species by
(i) increasing their population number and density through intensive seed and propagule gathering, propagation, and outplanting,
(ii) improving the reproductive potential and resilience of the target tree species,
(iii) restoring and diversifying native forest understorey conditions ideal for natural unassisted seedling establishment,
(iv) initiating ecological restoration in a new 3.5 hectare area, converting non-native grasslands to diverse native forest, and
(v) increasing awareness of Hawaiian dry forest endangerment and the critical role of human communities in their preservation.