Saturday, April 7, 2012

Hawai‘i Forest Institute

The Hawai`i Forest Institute was incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 2003 by a diverse group of volunteers who work together to promote awareness of the intrinsic value of Hawai‘i’s forests to the local and international community.

The Institute’s mandate is to improve and internationally promote the health and productivity of Hawai‘i’s forests through:
        Scientific research in forestry, reforestation, forest species, forest habitats and forest products
        Educational programs in forestry management practices and forestry related enterprises, and
        Information dissemination and other charitable scientific and educational endeavors related to forestry

The Institute is guided by a Board that is comprised of individuals who provide knowledgeable and respected contributions in education, industry, science, law, environmental and cultural conservation, organizational governance and academic research.

Present Institute Projects Include:
        Honolulu Zoo Discovery Forest
        Honokōhau National Historical Park
        Kapāpala Canoe Forest
        Kaloko Makai Dryland Forest Preserve
        Young-Growth Koa Wood Quality Assessment & Demonstration Project
        Hui Lā‘au Kama‘āina: Restoration and Education at La‘i‘Ōpua Preserve
        Ho‘ola Ka Makana‘a at Ka‘ūpūlehu
        Ka Pilina Poina ’Ole “Connection Not Forgotten”
        Hawaii Island Native Seed Bank Cooperative
        Statewide Forestry Forums
        Pana‘ewa Zoo Discovery Forest

Simply put, the forest is critically important to everyone in Hawai’i.

And, forests are not just about trees.

Virtually all our fresh water comes from the forest, also clean air, recreation areas, habitat for native species, plants for cultural practices and woods for fine arts are among the thousands of forest benefits.

Our forests present endless opportunities for both residents and visitors; Hawaii’s forests offer employment, recreation and resources – including ecological goods and services.

Ecological goods include clean air, and abundant fresh water; while ecological services include purification of air and water, plant and wildlife habitat, maintenance of biodiversity, decomposition of wastes, soil and vegetation generation and renewal, groundwater recharge, greenhouse gas mitigation and aesthetically pleasing landscapes.

Water, wildlife and wood are just a few of the products found in our forests.

We are fortunate that 100-years ago some forward thinkers had the good sense to set aside Hawai‘i’s forested lands and protected our forest watersheds under the State’s forest reserve system.  While I was at DLNR, we oversaw these nearly 1-million acres of mauka lands.

Healthy forests are a goal for all of us in Hawai‘i, it's as much about fresh water, erosion control, protected reefs and economic opportunities as it is about trees.

Of course, an added benefit is being able to appreciate the outcome after putting some of Hawaiʻi’s native woods in the hands of artisans.

It's not too late to go to Hawaiʻi’s Woodshow 2012, Na Laʻau o Hawaiʻi at Hawai‘i Academy of Arts – Honolulu Museum of Art School (corner of Beretania and Victoria Street – just mauka of Blaisdell Center parking - now through April 15th.)

I am proud and honored to have been selected and now serve on the Board of Directors of the Hawai‘i Forest Institute.

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