Endangered species hotspot now guarded against goats, pigs
A new pair of fences in the remote wilderness of Kaua‘i will reportedly protect the island’s primary source of water and one of the most important biological diversity hotspots in the Hawaiian archipelago.
These strong barriers, developed by The Nature Conservancy for the benefit of the Kaua‘i Watershed Alliance, will shelter 8,000 acres of the state’s most pristine wildland from the onslaught of invading feral animals, a news release states.
“These are just amazing areas. Everywhere you look, you are surrounded by incredible native Hawaiian birds, plants and insects. There is nowhere in the state like quite like it,” said Jeff Schlueter, Kaua‘i natural resource manager for The Nature Conservancy.
Ken Wood, a prominent biologist with the National Tropical Botanical Garden, which is a key partner in the Kaua‘i Alliance, said the biological diversity of the region is remarkable. He calls the area “one of the most important conservation sites in the entire archipelago.”
This land is also the core of the island’s watershed, a place where abundant rains and mists are soaked up and then feed the island’s rivers and its aquifer.
“These fences were conceived to protect the primary source of the island’s water supply.
MALP Educational Meeting—Free to the public
Date: Tuesday March 22, 2011
Place: Maui Community Service Bldg next to CTHAR Extension Services (Map) on the UH Maui campus.
Time: Pupus will be served at 6:30 pm and the talk will begin at 7:00.
by Heidi Leianuenue Bornhorst, garden columnist for the Honolulu Star Advertiser and author of the book: Growing Native Hawaiian Plants.
Heidi’s presentation is entitled PLANT PONO , in which she will speak and show a PowerPoint about the new and upcoming Plant Pono website, a tool to help grow and nurture our green industry of Hawaii and our forests and natural areas as well, by growing, designing, planting and maintaining high value plants that are not invasive weeds.
Heidi’s credentials also include serving as Landscape Director at the Hale Koa Hotel; Director/Supervisor/Plant Propagator at the Honolulu Botanical Gardens, Nature Conservancy Hawaii Oahu/ Lanai Preserves Manager; Education Coordinator HPCC/National Tropical Botanical garden; Horticulturalist, Sustainable Landscape Designer & Consultant, Arborist, and VIP Tour Guide.
She specializes in native Hawaiian and drought tolerant plants, and sustainable and edible landscapes. Heidi is also a Founding and Board member of the Halawa Xeriscape Garden.
The last specimen of a rare Hawaiian orchid on Kauai will be joined next week by a half-dozen of its descendants in its home.
An Illinois botany professor who successfully reproduced the Platanthera holochila is expected to bring about 90 plants to Hawaii next week.
The orchid is extinct on Oahu and nonexistent on the Big Island, but Maui has about 20 plants living in the wild and about 20 live on Molokai. The only known specimen on Kauai lives in the Alakai Swamp within a fence that protects it from goats and pigs.
One of three orchid species endemic to Hawaii, the plant is the rarest of all three and appears somewhat unglamorous for an orchid, said Wendy Kishida, Kauai coordinator of the Plant Extinction Prevention Program.
It can grow to be several feet tall with hundreds of greenish-yellow flowers that bloom from spikes around the stem, according to some descriptions.
Chipper Wichman, director and chief executive officer of the National Tropical Botanical Garden on Kauai, said botanists have seen the plant’s population decline over 20 years from about four plants to one. He said no one has been able to propagate the plant.
“This is really a success story,” he said. “This is a huge breakthrough for us.”
HANA – In sleepy Hana, a breadfruit revolution is unfolding.
The 8-year-old Breadfruit Institute, overseen by the National Tropical Botanical Garden of Hana and Kauai, aims to export tens of thousands of breadfruit treelings starting in 2011 to provide a sustainable food source for the hungry around the globe.
This initiative culminates a five-year Breadfruit Institute project to propagate the tree from its tissues – not just its roots – in collaboration with a research team at the University of British Columbia at Okanagan.
The 10-acre orchard inside the entrance to Hana’s 464-acre Kahanu National Tropical Botanical Garden contains the world’s largest breadfruit collection, with 260 trees representing 137 varieties, said institute Collections Manager and Curator Ian Cole in Hana.
For centuries botanists were unable to reproduce and ship the plant, which is native to the Pacific Islands. But a team of researchers led by Diane Ragone of the Breadfruit Institute at the National Tropical Botanical Garden in Kauai, Hawaii, has discovered how to propagate it en masse to ship to regions in Central America and Africa where it would grow best (and where hunger rates are highest). Now Ragone has 40 requests from governments, NGOs, nonprofits, and farmers across the globe to integrate the fruit.