HONOLULU (July 11, 2019) – Kamehameha Schools (KS) has entered into innovative agreements aimed at developing new financial and ecological models to support its stewardship of thousands of acres of koa and ‘iliahi (sandalwood) forests on the west side of Hawai‘i island.
“Sustaining a steady source of capital to finance stewardship activities is often challenging,” said Kamakani Dancil, KS land asset manager. “These projects are exploring new management strategies which provide the resources and stable funding needed to achieve native ecosystem restoration goals.”
In separate agreements, KS is working with:
These projects will be the subject of a discussion entitled “Native Forestry: A New Model for Sustaining Conservation” at the Hawai‘i Conservation Conference today.
“Paniolo Tonewoods is committed to restoring native forests throughout Hawai‘i. We're honored to be working with KS, and to be learning from its long experience with koa. We’re proud to be part of a project that strikes a healthy balance between economics, culture, and ecology,” said Steve McMinn, founder of Pacific Rim Tonewoods, one of the partners in the Paniolo Tonewoods collaboration.
“Hāloa ‘Āina means ‘long breath of the land.’ If people take care of the ‘Āina, the ‘Āina will take care of our People.” said Wade Lee, Managing Member of Hāloa ‘Āina.
West Hawai‘i Regional Director Kaimana Barcarse said that these innovative approaches to managing ‘āina also aligns with KS’ educational mission and vision toward thriving communities.
“Stewarding ‘āina to be healthy and functioning provides the foundation of a strong Native Hawaiian identity that instills confidence and resiliency in our learners and our people,” Barcarse said. “Ma ka lumi papa e hoʻolauna ʻia ai ka haʻawina, ma ka ʻāina e paʻa ia haʻawina, he ʻike. In the classroom, lessons are introduced. On the ʻāina, those lessons become knowledge.”
Reinvestment of revenue into the forest from these projects will support conservation efforts such as the installation of fencing to protect old growth forests while controlling invasive species and creating firebreaks to prevent wild fires from destroying native plants and endangered species.
The agreements are designed to improve degraded former pasture lands and reverse the decline through selective harvest and reinvestment of resources to improve forest regeneration. Along with planting native species and controlling weeds, these actions will help to enhance habitat for native plant and bird species.
Dancil added, “Kamehameha Schools is enthusiastic about working towards a new model of conservation management that allows us to increase our conservation footprint in ma uka Kona.