Planting A Legacy
By Lindsey Kesel
Koa makes a comeback
“If you think about it, planting trees is sustainable development in its simplest form. We are just creating innovative ways to let others participate.”
Jeff Dunster and Darrell Fox founded Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods, a sustainable forestry company now known as HLH, to replenish koa trees on the Big Island. In doing so, they ended up creating an entire native forest ecosystem on the slopes of Mauna Kea. The partners recently reached their goal of planting 350,000 trees across 1,000 acres and also launched the Legacy Carbon program, the first in the world to produce certified carbon credits for the reforestation of koa trees.
The HLH team is currently working on improving germination and survival rates for endemic Hawaiian trees. They’ve seen success shortening the germination rate for Hawaiian sandalwood, a rare and highly valued tree that typically germinates for six to 36 months. “We have had some really dedicated young men and women working on a solution to this problem for some time now and may be on the verge of a breakthrough,” Dunster says. “Early trials have produced germinated seeds in as little as three to five days.”
Dunster and Fox recently launched the online store legacyforestgifts.com, which showcases some of Hawai‘i’s most talented artisans. Instead of purchasing original artwork directly from the featured artists, visitors purchase trees to plant at HLH’s forest reserve and receive free artwork for their donation. It’s a win-win for the environment, local artisans and nature lovers around the world.
Source: Green Magazine