PAAUILO, Hawaii, May 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods (HLH) today announced the planting of its 200,000th native koa tree on the Hamakua Coast of Hawaii Island, well on the way to its goal of 1.3 million trees. In three short years, more than 500 acres of former pastureland have been reclaimed as native forest. While koa is the backbone of the forest, HLH has gone beyond, working to develop an entire native ecosystem. In addition to koa, HLH is planting many other indigenous species of trees and understory including ohia, mamane, naio, ko'oko'olau, kukaenene and both varieties of iliahi (Hawaiian sandalwood). "We are witnessing the birth of a forest—it's really quite amazing. What's more, this Legacy Forest is creating dozens of permanent green jobs, reducing the effects of global warming and most importantly, doing it in a way that honors the legacy of the Hawaiian culture," said CEO Jeff Dunster.
HLH owes the success of this project to many great organizations including one of its first cornerstone partnerships Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. "We're truly honored to be a long-term partner of Hawaiian Legacy Hardwood's efforts in reforesting our island with native koa trees," said Robert Whitfield, Regional Vice President and General Manager of Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. "This impressive milestone is one of many that will be achieved, each bringing more life and sustainability to this magnificent place we call home."
HLH also recognizes the USDA, Farm Service Agency and NRCS, for their expertise and assistance which have been invaluable to this project's success as well. "Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods has been an excellent participant in the Hawaii Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) demonstrating how private landowners are instrumental in providing public services while restoring a native ecosystem. These public services include reducing sediment and nutrient runoff into streams, increasing groundwater recharge, and controlling invasive species," said Elizabeth Boxler, Hawaii CREP Coordinator, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, DLNR.
"The most remarkable impact however, has come from individual tree sponsors. The simple act of sponsoring a Legacy Tree, by countless individuals, has literally moved a mountain. Each tree has a story to tell. Each one was planted and sponsored as a living legacy to honor an individual, memorialize a loved one or to commemorate an event. This forest really belongs to them," Dunster said.
One more reason to feel good about this forest-more than one third of all Legacy Tree proceeds goes to charity. The HLH Legacy Tree program currently supports more than 200 charities worldwide--planting roots in the forest while planting roots in the community. Learn more about sponsoring your own legacy tree: www.legacytrees.org
HLH is located 34 miles north of Hilo, above historic Umikoa Village on the slopes of Mauna Kea. This planting site was once a magnificent koa forest and the personal property of King Kamehameha The Great, the first king of Hawaii. This old growth koa forest was almost lost to a century of clear-cut harvesting and cattle grazing, but with the help of caring individuals is making a comeback. * www.LegacyTrees.org * www.HawaiianLegacyHardwoods.com
(800) 707-TREE (8733)
SOURCE Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods