Restoration

Hawaiʻi is home to some of the most diverse and unique ecosystems on earth, yet these ecosystems are among the most threatened in the world. Conservation programs throughout the state have long worked to restore and protect the plant life that is essential to our natural and cultural heritage, but it is simply not enough. Since the arrival of Captain Cook in 1778, biologists have witnessed firsthand the disappearance of not only Hawaiʻi’s rare plant species, but also more common plant species and the disappearance of the native ecosystem as a whole (The Nature Conservancy of Hawaiʻi). The unique native Hawaiian forest and its ecosystems are endangered. The development of a hydroseed product containing native seeds for habitat restoration is a broad stroke approach to conserving the habitat as a whole to prevent ecosystems from becoming extinct. Even though large amounts of government and private funds aim to assist conservation programs across the state, our native ecosystems are still becoming increasingly overwhelmed by invasive species, wildfires, and habitat loss.

NES is dedicated to using direct seeding and aerial hydroseeding in native forest recovery and land reclamation. This approach is needed in Hawaii to meet the demands of private and government land owners to restore degraded lands on a landscape scale.

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Species Selection:

 This step in the process serves as the baseline decision for the success of germination and the competitive ability of outplants in the field and furthermore must be adapted to fit a specific work site or customer demand. However, in general, four native species have been recognized for their ecosystem function, widely adaptive geographic range, germination success rates, and growth speed.

  • For ecosystem function, koa or Acacia koa serves as a true canopy species that also brings nitrogen back to soils in degraded sites because it is nitrogen-fixing. Mamaki or Pipturus albidus serves as a shorter canopy and brings not only shade and vigor to an area with its large leaves, but also attracts beneficial pollinating insects to the site.
  • Koʻokoʻolau (Bidens torta) and aʻaliʻi (Dodonea viscosa) fill in the midlevel somewhat densely in some sites and provide shade for the understory.
  • Note: there are more species that may be added to this list in the future such as a diverse, fast-growing ground cover such as the native sedge Carex wahuensis. The current species list is as follows:

Potential Competitive Native Restoration Plant Species for Mesic Forests on O’ahu

Common Name                             Latin Name                                                    Type       

koa Acacia koa                          Tree
aʻaliʻi Dodonea viscosa Shrub
koʻokoʻolau Bidens torta Shrub
mamaki Pipturus albidus Tree
carex Carex wahuensis Sedge
uhaloa Waltheria indica Shrub
ilieʻe Plumbago zeylanica Vine
naupaka kuahiwi Scaevola gaudichaudiana Shrub
wiliwili Erythrina sandwicensis Tree
Gaunia Gaunia beechii Sedge