HomeNative Hawaiian$12M fund boosts restoration of Hawaiian forests

$12M fund boosts restoration of Hawaiian forests

A $12 million grant for American Forests, a non-profit conservation group, will help underserved Hawaiian communities fund reforestation efforts.

The grant from the USDA Forest Service will help 10 tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations restore forests damaged by disasters like wildfire and disease. They will use the money to plant 2 million trees with the goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 1 million metric tons.

The money was given through the Forest Landowner Program, which works to provide monetary assistance for forest landowners to fund climate initiatives. According to American Forests, this is just one out of 20 grants that this program will fund. In total, the sum of all grants comes out to a grand $116 million.

Dr. Natalie Kurashima, integrated resources manager at Kamehameha Schools, said “This USFS funding through American Forests will advance the opportunities for Hawaii underserved landowners to access innovative funding streams.”

The collaboration between American Forests and the Forests Service will help to make reforestation efforts more affordable.

PARADISE PARK, A COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISE DESIGNED TO DISPLAY SOME OF THE NATURAL BEAUTY OF THE ISLAND, IS IN A CONSERVATION DISTRICT WHICH IS PRIMARILY FOREST AND WATER RESERVE LAND. THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES CONTROLS LAND USE IN "CONSERVATION" ZONES
By National Archives by College Park via Wikipedia Creative Commons

“About 60 percent of all forests in the U.S. are on privately-owned and tribal lands,” said Jad Daley, president and CEO of American Forests.  “By working together, we can unlock new reforestation opportunities and innovative ways to finance this work into the future for our communities and our climate.” 

The Hawaii carbon hui and the University of Hawaii have also joined the efforts. The two institutions have pledged technical support through project planning and “integrating indigenous knowledge with the best available climate science to help crate ecologically-rich forests,” Maui Now reports.

Dr. Leah Bremer, conservation scientist at the University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization said, “This partnership with American Forests will enable us to explore innovative mechanisms to support ecosystem restoration strategies which yield clean and abundant water for people and ecosystems across Hawaii.”

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