by Carolyn Lucas
West Hawaii Today
Kailua-Kona, HI (March 2, 2007)- In the barren and arid landscape of Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, surrounded by rugged lava, more than 600 native plants are flourishing, thanks to Tropical Reforestation and Ecosystems Education Center Hawaii, park staff and volunteers.
Stand before the maiapilo, smell its fragrant white flowers and it is obvious why workers have spent countless hours rebuilding a coastal dryland forest from the understory up. For some, the words are as elusive and special as the distinctive calls of the aeo and koloa, which take residency at the park’s Aimakapa fishpond. Pristine natural grandeur could and did exist here.
“The Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park in Kona is becoming a haven for Hawaii’s rare plants and ecosystem, the dryland forest,” said Jill Wagner, horticulture and restoration manager for TREE Center Hawaii. “The coastal areas have always been the most desired places for human settlement, thus the dryland forest has been greatly altered and is the most rare ecosystem in Hawaii. With the developing at its current rapid rate in Hawaii, the park is a critical habitat for the rare plants.”
Since 2000, TREE Center Hawaii- a nonprofit organization dedicated to environmental education and restoration through hands-on stewardship- has been doing reforestation work at Kaloko-Honokohau. Its first planting was along the coast, Wagner said.
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TREE Center Hawaii
Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park