The Farm as Habitat: Environmental Topics
- HAWAII'S UNIQUE NATURAL RESOURCES
- CORAL REEFS
- ENDANGERED SPECIES & WILDLIFE PROTECTION
- FUNDING SOURCES FOR CONSERVATION
- INVASIVE SPECIES: INVASIVE AND NOXIOUS WEEDS
- LIVESTOCK: GRAZING AND MANURE MANAGEMENT
- NATIVE PLANTS
- SOIL FERTILITY & SOIL EROSION
Located 2500 miles away from the nearest continental landmass, the islands of Hawaii are some of the most remote on earth. As a result, 97% of our native species are found here and nowhere else. Visit the websites below to learn a bit about how truly unique our island homes are.
- The Farm as Habitat, Chapter 2, Towards Sustainable Agriculture
- Nowhere Else on Earth: Indigenous Plants of Hawaii (YouTube)
Hawaii has the dubious distinction of having the highest number of threatened and endangered species in the nation. Our islands are small and the influence of man’s land uses so great that currently 312 plants and animals are considered to be threatened or endangered. Often farmers can manage land to enhance habitat for these plants and animals.
- The Farm as Habitat, Chapter 2, Towards Sustainable Agriculture
- Native Wildlife Habitat and Farming: Yes, They are Compatible (article in Hanai'Ai by Dr. Gregory Koob, USDA NRCS)
- Nene Habitat Enhancement Management (NRCS Biology Technical Note – No. 16)
- Practices to Enhance Native Wildlife Habitat on Wetland Taro Farms (NRCS Biology Technical Note No. 21)
- Bats of the U.S. Pacific Islands (NRCS Biology Technical Note No. 20)
- Hawaiian Hawk Habitat Enhancement Management (NRCS Biology Technical Note No. 17)
- Download for USDA NRCS Biology Tech Notes
- US Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands Ecological Services has additional information on local species, with photographs and descriptions. The Conservation Partnership program provides funding for improving habitat for these species.
- Incentive Programs for Forest Landowners in Hawaii
- Search Threatened & Endangered Species in the Pacific Islands (USF&W Pacific Islands) to get the most current listing of endangered plants and animals for Hawaii.
- Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) is a federal cost-share program (operated through the USDA NRCS) to assist landowners and leasees up to 75% of the cost of the conservation practices. Contact your local USDA NRCS Field Office for technical assistance and cost-share funding.
USDA NRCS Financial Assistance Programs: General overview of conservation, farm/ranch, forestry, grassland and environmental programs offereded by the USDA NRCS. Contact your local USDA NRCS Field Office for technical assistance and cost-share funding.
- Conservation Security Program (CSP) is a voluntary program that provides financial and technical assistance to promote the conservation and improvement of soil, water, air, energy, plant and animal life, and other conservation purposes.
- Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) helps fund projects that install conservation measures on agricultural lands to address animal waste, sedimentation, noxious weeds, insufficient water supply for crops or livestock, excess surface runoff, pesticide or nutrient contamination of ground or surface waters, or at-risk species habitat.
- Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program (WHIP) is a federal cost-share program (operated through the USDA NRCS) to assist landowners and leasees up to 75% of the cost of the conservation practices.
- Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) is a cost sharing program to help landowners and leasees restore, enhance or create wetlands on agricultural lands.
With the best intentions, agriculture, forestry and most recently the horticulture and landscaping industries have introduced plants and animals to the Pacific Islands which over time proved to seriously out compete native species. Fortunately, farmers can now check to see if a plant that they grow will cause long-term damage to our island’s ecosystem.
- Coordinating Group on Alien Pest Species (CGAPS)
- Plant Pono
- Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture Plant Quarantine Branch: for info on quarantine and new pest advisories
- The Hawaii Ecosystems at Risk web site describes the threat that alien invasive plant and animal species constitute to Hawaii's native biota. The site contains descriptions of individual species, maps of their ranges, and outlines current programs to combat them. Check your planting lists with this site
- Hawaii Alien Plant studies website has information about pest plants of Hawaiian native ecosystems, most of which were introduced for agriculture or ornamental uses.
- Hawaii Pacific Weed Risk Assessment, a tool for screening out invasive pest plants is available on-line. It features a searchable database to check if a plant species may pose a threat.
- Weeds of Hawai'i's Pastures and Natural Areas (order form): An identification and management guide ($20, ordering information). This book describes over 150 plants that are considered weeds in Hawai’i in most circumstances. Sections are available on-line at http://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/invweed/weedsHi.html
Manure management can be a major headache for livestock producers! Water quality citations and fines from improper storage and spreading can be completely avoided with good management. Partner with other landowners to use manure and compost to improve soil quality (see soils section above). Refer to the animal production webpage for more information about rotational grazing, manure management, and composting.
- ATTRA: Protecting Riparian Areas: Farmland Management Strategies.
- Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) helps fund projects that install conservation measures (manure pads, etc.) on agricultural lands to address animal waste. Contact your local USDA NRCS Field Office for technical assistance and more information on cost-share funding.
- Native Plants Hawaii
- Hawaiian Native Plant Propagation Database
- Plant Pono
- Riparian Plant Restoration, Management Tool for Restoration in Hawai‘i (Version 2.0), Bishop Museum
- Hawaiian Native Plant Genera, University of Hawaii Dept. of Botany
- Meet the Plants, National Tropical Botanical Garden
- Honolulu Board of Water Supply Plants for O'ahu website shows a comprehensive list of native plants suitable for 9 climate zones on O'ahu.
- Growing Plants for Hawaiian Lei, CTAHR University of Hawai'i at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawai'i, 2002. (guidebook to growing lei plants for home or commercially, including horticultural, cultural and business information). Click here for more information.
- Kepler, A.K. 1998. Hawaiian Heritage Plants revised ed. UH Press, Honolulu.
- Krauss, B. 1993. Plants in Hawaiian Culture. UH Press. Honolulu.
- Lilleeng-Rosenberger, Kerin L.. Growing Hawaii's Native Plants: A Simple Step-by-Step Approach for Every Species, Mutual Publishing (July 2005).
- Palmer, Daniel D. 2003. Hawai‘i’s Ferns and Fern Allies. UH Press, Honolulu
- Sohmer, S.H., and R. Gustafson. 1987. Plants and Flowers of Hawai‘i. UH Press, Honolulu.
- Valier, K. 1995. Ferns of Hawai‘i. UH Press. Honolulu.
- Wagner, Warren L., Derral R. Herbst, S.H. Sohmer. 1990. Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai‘i. UH Press. Honolulu.
Hawaiian plant listserve (firstname.lastname@example.org): discussion of Hawaii's native plants. To subscribe, send mail to LISTSERV@HAWAII.EDU with the command SUBSCRIBE HIPLANTS-L.
- Carpenter Bees (UH Honeybee Project)
- Farming for Beneficial Insects: Pollinators, Predators and Parasitoids (YouTube)
- Gardening/Farming with Honey Bees
- Habitat Planting for Pollinators Pacific Island Area (USDA NRCS PIA)
- Hawaii's Native Bees (C. Magnacca)
- Importance of Honeybee Pollination (UH Honeybee Project, 2014)
- Meet the Pollinators (Villalobos, presentation)
- Pollinators in Hawaii (UH Honeybee Project, 2014)
- The Kamehameha Butterfly and the Pulelehua Project
- Selecting Plants for Pollinators: A Regional Guide for Farmers, Land Managers, and Gardeners In the Hawaiian Islands
- Solitary Bees: Build a Bamboo House/Habitat
- Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation (Pollinator Conservation)
The soil resource is one of the farm’s most valuable assets. The websites below will help you identify your farm’s soils and to understand how to manage them for long term crop productivity with excellent water quality.
Identify your soil
- USDA NRCS Web Soil Survey: On-line tool for identifying soil series on your land.
- Hawaii Soil Atlas: http://gis.ctahr.hawaii.edu/SoilAtlas
- Soils of Hawaii
- Soils of Maui County (contains general intro to Hawaii soils)
- Soil Web (UC Davis and USDA NRCS, soil map information)
Fertility and Soil Quality
Agricultural Diagnostic Service Center: CTAHR’s ADSC lab conducts plant disease analyses, feed and forage analyses, insect identification analyses, chemical analyses of soils, chemical analyses of plant tissue, and chemical analyses of water and nutrient solutions.
Soil ErosionErosion from farmland impairs water quality and farmers can be fined. Plan to prevent erosion you’re your property. These websites can help you manage your land resource to keep your valuable topsoil on-site. Land clearing is regulated by local grading ordinances. Before clearing land, be sure you learn about your restrictions.
- USDA NRCS Natural Resources Conservation Service Pacific Islands Area: Contact your local USDA NRCS Field Office for technical assistance and cost-share funding for erosion control.
- Use of Filter Strips for Improved Surface Water Quality. Sunnhemp and common oats planted as vegetative filters can effectively reduce sediment and nutrient loads coming from idle and fallow fields in Hawai‘i.
- USDA NRCS Hawaii Electronic Field Office Technical Guide (eFOTG): Technical guides are the primary scientific references for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Examine Section IV of the eFOTG Conservation Measures to understand how NRCS staff assists farmers with controlling erosion on the land they farm.
- Conservation Tillage, ATTRA fact sheet.
- Hawaiian Streams (Hawaii Dept. of Aquatic Resources)
Land use changes have caused extensive damage to water quality nationwide. Agriculture has been a source of sedimentation that damages our coral reefs, nutrient pollution which causes excessive algae blooms, pesticide and herbicide pollution in our groundwater. We can learn from these past mistakes. In addition, funding is often available to assist landowners and leasees to protect our water resources.
- State of Hawaii Regional Water Quality Program contains information about water quality issues relating to animal waste management, nutrient and pesticide management, water conservation and agricultural water management, drinking water and human health, watershed management, pollution assessment and prevention, and environmental restoration.
- Water Quality on the Island of Oahu (USGS report) 1999-2001.
- ATTRA: Protecting Riparian Areas: Farmland Management Strategies. This publication is designed to help farmers, watershed managers, and environmentalists understand what healthy riparian areas look like, how they operate, and why they are important for the environment and society.
- Hawaii Pollution Prevention Information (HAPPI) Farm Series. Free downloadable fact sheets prepared by CTAHR about minimizing pollution from farming.
- Drought Resistant Soils, ATTRA fact sheet.
- Protecting Water Quality on Organic Farms, ATTRA fact sheet.
- Pesticides and Groundwater in Hawaii (CTAHR Pesticide Risk Reduction Education webpage)
- Hawaii Electronic Field Office Technical Guide (eFOTG): Technical guides are the primary scientific references for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). They contain technical information about the conservation of soil, water, air, and related plant and animal resources. Hawaii USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services is the main website for USDA NRCS Pacific Islands Area. To locate eFOTG for other sections of the country and American Pacific: eFOTG Country Locator.
- National NRCS Technical Resources: National website with resources and links for the following topic areas: agronomy, wind and water erosion, air quality, conservation practices, cultural resources, ecological sciences, economics resources, eFOTG, engineering tools and resources, forestry and agroforestry, invasive species, maps, imagery and data resources, natural resource data and analysis, nutrient management, pest management, plants, range and pasture, soils, streams, water resources, wildlife biology.
Webinar Portal for Conservation of Natural Resources: Up-to-date info on the latest research and industry practices in forestry, conservation, bioenergy, and natural resources. Most user friendly webinars provide the opportunity to accrue continuing education credits, from professional accrediting organizations such as Society of American Foresters, International Society of Arboriculture, The Wildlife Society, Certified Crop Advisors, and others.
These webpages were originally generated under a grant program from Western SARE entitled "New Farmers: Choosing the Road Less Traveled" EW03-002 (2004-2006). Toward Sustainable Agriculture (downloadable .pdf)