Thursday, October 16, 2008
"Growing on the lava fields of Auwahi land of Kahikinui, southern slopes of Mt. Haleakala, Maui; elevation 2600 feet,... about seven miles from Ulupalakua, is a small area of forest on the lava fields of Auwahi. Unpromising as it looks from the road, this forest is botanically, nevertheless, one of the richest in the territory".
~Joseph Rock in the year 1913
At the present time, the forest at Auwahi is sometimes described as a museum forest because so little of it remains as a result of severe degradation brought on by human activities and now without action is threatened with total extirpation on Maui.
" Auwahi is a biological and ethnobotanical treasure. Of the 50-odd species of rare Hawaiian trees found here, 41 species had specific Hawaiian ethnobotanical uses, 19 as medicines, 13 in making specific tools, 13 in canoe construction, eight in kapa making, eight to make widely ranging dye colors, and at least seven of the trees have religious significance. Without our efforts, all of these trees, their uses, their associated animals will all perish forever".
The Auwahi Restoration Group is a coalition of private and public agencies and a group of concerned community citizens working together in a historic effort to try and save a Hawaiian forest by planting and weeding exclosures in order to "jumpstart" this unique ecosystem.