Gov. Neil Abercrombie has released $2.5 million for forest protection projects. He spoke about the importance of trees on Arbor Day, Nov. 2.
“I want everyone to remember that trees and forests are what make life possible here in Hawaii, because they collect Hawaii’s water supply,” he said. “Saving Hawaii’s forests means ensuring our water supply for future generations. More than half of Hawaii’s irreplaceable forests have been lost over time, and the remainder are threatened by expanding populations of invasive species and prolonged periods of drought in some areas.”
The Department of Land and Natural Resources plans to double watershed protection efforts in the coming decades.
Here are some of the projects prioritized to protect and restore critical watershed forests on the Big Island.
l Native mamane trees are being planted at a 5,200-acre restoration site on the northern slope of Mauna Kea. Nearly 50,000 trees have already been planted in the past 3 years.
l Projects in remote forests of Kohala and Ka‘u will include invasive species control, construction of protective barriers, and restoration of native species, including several that are endangered.