The Nature Conservancy says rare native plants are once again thriving in a Big Island forest preserve now that a fence is keeping out pigs and mouflon sheep.
The animals, which are not native to Hawaii, destroy native plants and habitats by trampling on vegetation. The animals accelerate erosion and pollute the water supply with feces and diseases.
The nonprofit organization installed an animal-proof fence around its Kaiholena Preserve in Kau in late 2007. It took the conservancy and local hunters another year to remove all the pigs from the 1,200-acre lowland forest preserve.
The Nature Conservancy said Tuesday the nuku iiwi, a native vine traditionally found in Kaiholena, is among the plants that has returned. The vine’s reddish-orange flower resembles the curved bill of the iiwi honeycreeper.
The Green House is offering three workshops on Saturday, April 2.
How Does Your Garden Grow…Backyard Aquaponics
Environmental Engineer Jeremai Cann, aka Dr. Sustainability, will lead this workshop covering everything you need to know to start your own aquaponics system (organic gardening with fish and plants). Grow your own dinner and lessen your reliance on imported food!
The Green House
Saturday, April 2nd
10:00 – 11:30pm
“Turn used water into real savings” — Greywater Harvesting
Jeremai Cann will lead this workshop on how to create your own “greywater” catchment system. Greywater refers to the reuse of water drained from baths, showers, washing machines, and sinks for irrigation and other water conservation applications. Reduce your use of tap water while helping the environment and lower your monthly water bill.
The Green House
Saturday, April 2nd
It’s Easy Being Clean…Natural Green Cleaning Recipes
Learn how to whip up a batch of handmade soap and explore simple cleaning recipes that are safe, effective, inexpensive. You may already have many of the ingredients in your kitchen cupboards. A booklet of natural cleaning recipes will also be shared.
The Green House
Saturday, April 2nd
Advanced registration required for all workshops.
Go to www.thegreenhousehawaii.com to register online, or call (808) 524-8427.
Oahu growers have been hit by thieves seeking pricey ornamental plants as well as pots, tools and other gear.
Over the weekend, thieves took more than $15,000 worth of farm equipment and a truck from a taro restoration project in the Heeia wetlands.
Mahealani Cypher, spokeswoman for the nonprofit organization Kako‘o ‘Oiwi, said yesterday that two chain saws, eight weed whackers, two water pumps, tools and a 20-by-20-foot tent were stolen sometime late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.
Last week, Glenn’s Flowers and Plants on Mokulama Street in Waimanalo lost 70 Raphis indoor palms valued at $14,000.
The nursery lost 37 plants that were growing in 3-gallon pots, nine palms in 5-gallon pots and 24 palms in 7-gallon pots. All of the plants were housed in a greenhouse.
In Kaneohe, workers arriving at the 400-acre site at 11 a.m. Sunday discovered the security gate off Kamehameha Highway was broken, Cypher said. The thieves also used blowtorches to open locked containers. A donated green Chevy pickup truck is also missing,
Hawaii gardeners have the advantage of a year-round growing season that allows us to pick up plants any time of year and add them to our backyard collection. And local garden centers carry an abundance of ornamental shrubs, trees and herbs from which to choose.
The University of Hawaii Cooperative Extension Service wants to help home gardeners to be knowledgeable when choosing plant material. The UH Master Gardeners on Oahu have teamed up with the Hawaii Invasive Species Council to provide classes and demonstrations to the public. (See the Star-Advertiser’s Home & Garden calendar for class listings.)
What is an invasive species? Technically, according to HISC, an invasive species is an alien species — plant, animal, or microbe transported by humans to a location outside its native range — whose introduction has caused or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.
Basically, foreign plant material that propagates at warp speed and those seeds or plant parts that can travel long distances to naturally forested areas are termed invasive. These plants often demonstrate rapid and aggressive growth, production of numerous seeds that are spread easily by wind, wing or water, and the ability to grow under many different soil and climatic conditions.
What is the impact of invasive species? It’s the plants whose “keiki” reach the natural forested areas that take the largest toll on our native species and ecosystems. They threaten native plant habitats, reducing the number of native plants and affecting plant biodiversity, as well as the insect biodiversity that depends on those plants.
On January 26, a mixed segment of the community attended a meeting called Hawaiians Ku`e. The pitch was to honor our kuleana (responsibility). There was also an introduction of state sanctioned governance called Aha Moku/Aha Kiole. In essence, it’s about community districts, from east to west Molokai, maintaining the natural resources of their areas by using a mix of ancient Hawaiian and modern practices. It is a good start to have this practice in our community (more fish, ophi, limu, native plants, water resources, etc.) and if successful, may become a model for the rest of state.
Next was a dialog about windmills and getting off the dependency of oil from the Mid-East. Lanai is a done deal and the plan is to build windmills. Some people in this state have said Molokai is also going to be a done deal and the 410 ft. towers are going to be put on the west end. Absent from the meeting was dialog from the land owner (Molokai Ranch) and the residents of the west end. This issue must be pono with Molokai’s people and environment to succeed.
Questions: What will Molokai get if windmills are built here? Who will be the go-to people? What will be the short, medium, and long term effect to Molokai’s people and environment? Who owns the underwater cable? Whose responsibility and liability is the cable? Remember the oil rig in the gulf – catastrophic.
There are various opinions and with honest dialog at the table, I’m sure Molokai people can come up with the right solutions. Maybe start with a solar farm in Pala`au next to Maui Electric to lower Molokai’s oil dependency first? Is a solar farm at Pala`au and Kalamaula less intrusive?
If the state was really serious about alternative energy, how about partnering with the federal government, military and all John Does to put those wind monsters on Kaho`olawe where wind and land is plentiful and there is no infringement on homeowners. Since the cable is already intended for Lanai, Kahoolawe is a doorstep away. Revenue can benefit all of Hawaii. Some might argue that Kahoolawe is rich with historic and cultural significance – I agree. But are they saying that Molokai and Lanai are less historical and culturally significant?
Many gardeners in Hawaii have become native plant enthusiasts. More and more people are awakening to the beauty of our native species and learning about them and the vigilance required to save them from harm or eventual extinction. Events like Arbor Day at Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden, offering free native plants and information on growing them, help folks learn ways to grow and care for native plants. Interest in these plants, which have thrived in our native forests for millennia, helps raise awareness of the threats a multitude of invasive species pose to them.
One particularly threatening species, the autograph, or signature, tree (Clusia rosea) caught the notice of Darcy Ames, who has witnessed firsthand the encroachment of this species on the ohia forests near her home.
“When I first bought property in Holualoa, I thought the autograph tree was quite lovely,” Ames said. “After a few years of experience, inspection and investigation, I began to realize this tree was capable of destroying the habitat of our ohia and other native species unless we began a proactive course against it.
“After witnessing the damage it can cause, I can honestly say that I hate what this plant is capable of doing. Autograph seeds can be dropped by birds and root as much as 20 or 30 feet in the air in the crotch of an ohia tree.
The beautiful yet isolated Hawaiian islands hold a bounty of biodiversity, but many of those unique species are rapidly disappearing. The fast growth of invasive species is pushing native Hawaiian species, many of which are found nowhere else on the globe, into extinction. In fact, hundreds of Hawaiian plant species, along with dozens of mammals and insects and other species, already appear on the U.S. endangered species list.
Much of the landscape of Hawaii, especially lowlands near agriculture and cities, has already been transformed, with native species nowhere to be found.
“Invasive species are so prevalent. You’re hand weeding, trying to eliminate them and aren’t able to keep up with them. It feels like you’re fighting a losing battle,” Susan Cordell, research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service, said recently in a prepared statement. “Restoring these lowland tropical forests to a historic native state is not financially or physically feasible.”
Invasive species are non-native species that disperse widely, rapidly, and at the expense of native species in an ecosystem. Not all non-native species become invasive, but those that do pose serious threats to all manner of plants, insects and animals.
So how can Hawaii preserve its biodiversity in the face of this ever-expanding enemy? A new idea is to try developing “hybrid ecosystems” – native and non-native species mixed in a way that benefits native biodiversity.
LIHU‘E — Celebrate Arbor Day in Hawai‘i and “go green” by purchasing and planting a native plant from the Arbor Day plant sale on Friday, November 5, from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) Pua Loke nursery located at 4398-D Pua Loke St. in Lihu‘e.
Local floral enthusiasts and rare plant collectors look forward to the annual event, especially since DOFAW began offering federally listed threatened and endangered plants, native to Hawai‘i and used for the State’s conservation programs.
This year’s sale will feature a diverse array of Kaua‘i’s botanical gems, such as Ma‘o hau hele (Hibiscus brackenridgei), Aloalo (Hibiscus clayi), Hau kuahiwi (Hibiscadelphus distans), Uhiuhi (Caesalpinia kavaiensis), and Loulu (Pritchardia remota). All of these species are endemic to Hawai‘i, meaning they are found nowhere else in the world, and will bear a numbered tag for authenticity.