Forestry Demonstration Projects
New innovations in Native Forest Restoration for High-elevation Rangelands
Ranching is the largest land-use industry in Hawaii with close to 1 million acres of rangeland dedicated to cattle grazing. Much of these areas were once koa and ohia forests, but were cleared over 100 years ago to expand grazing areas. Kikuyu grass (Pennisetum clandestinum) is native to the highlands of Kenya and was introduced into Hawaii around 1924 as a forage species, which has become very successful in adapting to these high-elevation rangelands, thus making it the most dominant vegetation in many of these grazing systems. Since then, kikuyu grass has become listed as a federal noxious weed due to its aggressive habit in occupying landscapes and displacing other beneficial vegetation. In recent times, large portions of Hawaiian rangelands have been deactivated from grazing operations and designated for native forest restoration. Within two years of cattle removal, kikuyu grass can maintain over 20 tons of biomass per acre, making it difficult for the forest species to compete and survive. Current strategies for koa restoration rely on out-planting young seedlings or germinating the soil seed bank through soil scarification. In either case there are no established protocols for post-plant management for controlling kikuyu grass competition and maximizing koa growth.
Collaborative research between CTAHR and USFS that is being conducted on Mauna Kea has recently determined that a post-plant strategy, which utilizes selective herbicide and fertilizer applications, is a viable strategy in maximizing koa productivity. Grass control had the biggest affect on koa growth. Treatment plots receiving post-plant applications of the grass-selective herbicide Fusilade DX® produced koa saplings that were over 3 ft. in height, only 8 months after transplant, and were twice as large as koa saplings established in untreated control plots. This early growth productivity exceeds productivity in most conventional operations. Based on these results, this technology could readily be adopted by land managers for reestablishing native forests. We propose to demonstrate the utility of this post-plant strategy under three scenarios:
- A native forest restoration area demonstrated on a 10-acre open parcel with koa out-planted by the Hawaii State Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL).
- A silvopasture demonstrated in a 10-acre fenced parcel by integrating prescribed grazing, soil scarification and koa seed bank germination on a private ranch (Kukaiau Ranch).
- A diversified wildlife habitat demonstrated in a 10-acre fenced parcel by out-planting ohia understory within a koa canopy corridor on the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge.
These demonstrations will promote innovative conservation technologies that provide: invasive weed management; practices that integrate trees-forage-livestock systems; and an increase native plant diversity. Land managers will be encouraged to adopt this technology based on resource availability, cost-savings and ease of implementation. Contact Dr. Travis Idol (email@example.com). See video field days at the Forestry Videos page.
virtual field day videos
Establishing Silvopastures with Acacia koa: Dr. James Leary, Dr. J. B. Friday, and Dr. Travis Idol, research an innovative approach to restoring koa corridors on pastureland in Hawaii for land management to support both cattle and koa production. Herbicide trials and scarification methods are examined. [9:24 min]
- Thinning, Fertilization and Herbicide Trials to improve Koa Production (Dr. J. B. Friday and Dr. James Leary)
- Grass Suppression for Koa Regeneration (Dr. James Leary)
Koa pasture scarification, silvopasture, and plantation: On 17 August 2009, UH-CTAHR, and USFS Institute of Pacific Island Forestry, and USDA NRCS hosted a workshop on koa regeneration methods for rangelands. Handouts, slide shows, virtual field day videos, and references from the program are available.
Download the full 22-page report, including information on shade tree species, shade levels, coffee health and productivity, and carbon sequestration.
The ecological and economic benefits of shade-grown coffee agroforestry systems have been recognized for many years throughout the tropics, but have been little studied in Hawai‘i. Over the past few years, innovative farmers in Kona and elsewhere in Hawai‘i have begun experimenting with shade-grown coffee. These farmers and others considering coffee agroforestry are in need of technical assistance based on research. This project will study twelve existing shade-grown coffee orchards and compare them with open-grown coffee based on five key indicators: soil organic matter, major insect pests, yield and bean quality, production costs and market values, and environmental conditions (shade levels, tree density, plant species present, etc.). We expect that shade-grown coffee has potential for wider adoption, as a number of farmers have adopted this practice on their own during recent years.
For further information, please contact the project director Craig Elevitch, Permanent Agriculture Resources, PO Box 428, Holualoa, Hawaii 96725, Tel: 808-324-4427; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The demonstration on Molokai of an alley farming system features an eight-year-old overstory of milo, kou, kamani, and kukui trees. Understory crops have included ginger, kava, and alfalfa. Field days for the demonstration are conducted regularly. Contact Mrs. Kali Arce (email@example.com).
The staff development project trains Cooperative Extension staff and staff of other agencies such as the state Division of Forestry and Wildlife and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in forestry skills such as tree improvement, forest economics, nutrient management of plantation forests. Project conducts workshops and conferences and produces of extension material. Contact: Dr. J. B. Friday (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Don't be a knocker: use persuasion rather than force, when possible: plenty of knockers are to be had: your job is to promote unity. - Gifford Pinchot