Conservation Group Plans Legacy Forest On Oahu
By Tovin Lapan
The Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing back native forests to the Aloha State, has added a project to its portfolio. The organization is now working to restore native Hawaiian milo trees in addition to its other reforestation efforts. The first Oahu Legacy Forest, a 500-acre planned forest located at Gunstock Ranch in Laie-Malaekahana, will feature milo trees. In all, it will eventually support 600,000 newly planted trees and be home to numerous rare and endangered species. The Hawaiian milo is a tree with a bright-yellow flower and is prized for its wood to make bowls, carvings and musical instruments.
The reforestation initiative is working with the 750-acre Gunstock Ranch, a working cattle and horse ranch, to convert much of the land back to native forest. Visitors to the new Legacy Forest will be able to sponsor and plant a "Monarch Milo" Legacy Tree through the Hawaiian Legacy Tours. Milo trees are also available for sponsorship online via the Reforestation Initiative's website, LegacyTrees.org, for $90 per tree. The organization uses radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to record the growth, health, location and sponsorship details of each tree, and trees can be tracked online. The Oahu Legacy Forest will be the third forest of its kind in Hawaii. The 700-acre Legacy Forest on Kahua Ranch, created in April 2017, will include dozens of endemic and native Hawaiian species on the western slopes of the Kohala Mountains. The original Legacy Forest at Kukaiau Ranch along the Hamakua Coast of Hawaii Island spans over 400,000 endemic trees on almost 1,200 acres of former pastureland. Legacy Tree sponsors often plant a tree to honor an individual, commemorate an event or memorialize a loved one. The Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative goal is to reforest 1.3 million trees across the Aloha State, one for each person living in Hawaii.