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DLNR NEWS RELEASE: Historic nursery played key role in reforestation on O‘ahu

Posted on Apr 19, 2017 in Latest Department News

HONOLULU – In celebration of both Earth Day and Arbor Day, the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife O‘ahu plant nursery invites native plant enthusiasts to its always popular annual plant sale on Friday, April 21 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 2135 Makiki Heights Dr., in Honolulu.

Since the first Arbor Day in Hawaii in 1905, the Makiki Nursery has regularly participated in Arbor Day tree events and sales. Up to several hundred plants are available for sale this year as excess stock from restoration projects. Plant pot sizes range from 4” to 3 gallon-sized containers and are priced from $4 – $40, depending on size and species.

Native plant fans can find 4 in. to 1 gallon standard pot-sized ko‘ki‘o ke‘oke‘o (white hibiscus), maile, papala kepau (Australasian catchbird tree) and the endangered Hawaii state flower, ma‘o hau hele, Hibiscus brakenridgei, red ‘ohi‘a, ukiuki, native grasses and sedges, as well as red ti.  There will be a few other native forest species as well as native grasses, and a few “canoe plants” (plants carried by early Polynesian voyagers in their canoes).  Some of the plants available are larger (3 ft. – 5 ft.) such as yellow ‘ohi‘a,   and Hibiscus clayi.

Large numbers of specific species may not be available. Cash or checks are accepted, no credit cards.

People are advised to park along the lower roadway and parking area since parking at the forestry office and nursery is tight.  For more information call 973-9778.

Historic nursery vital to early reforestation efforts

The Makiki nursery was developed as part of the restoration effort of the late 1800s in Hawaii, when thousands of trees, shrubs, and other plants were grown at the Division of Forestry nursery located in Makiki Valley for outplanting at heavily deforested sites.  A variety of native and non-native trees were grown, however foresters at the time concluded that non-native species were more suitable to rapidly revegetate denuded sites than native species.

In the late 1800’s, early territorial foresters recognized the need to protect Hawaii’s forests that were heavily deforested by introduced livestock, to provide a dependable supply of water for urban consumption and agriculture demands such as sugarcane.

Following the establishment in 1903 of the Forest Reserve System to protect important forested lands, the early part of the 20th century in Hawaii was marked by a massive reforestation effort. Areas of particular concern included the deforested slopes behind Honolulu, which were set aside as part of the Honolulu Watershed Forest Reserve in 1913.

Located at the DOFAW Makiki Baseyard behind the Hawaii Nature Center, the Makiki Nursery is currently managed by the State of Hawaii, Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW). The nursery was recently cleaned up after being overgrown by encroaching vegetation.

Today, plants are grown at the nursery for a variety of things such as restoration work, educational booth displays, the Governor’s award ceremonies and Christmas trees, plant sales, and donations to other government agencies for beautification purposes.

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(All images courtesy: Hawaii DLNR)


Photographs: (Makiki Nursery then and now)