The Kokee Forest Restoration and Recovery Project on Kauai is being recognized by the U.S.D.A. Forest Service for the 2015 Western Regional Forester’s Honor Award.
A total of 3,000 acres of the forest and brushland was severely scorched by three wildfires during the summer of 2012. The project strives to reforest nearly 1,000 acres of burnt Eucalyptus and Pine plantations using koa and other native trees and plants. This attempt to re-forest using native species is a first on State lands and thus far has involved the removal of some 6,000 tons of non-native trees burned during the fires.
Once complete, there will be over 15,000 tons of flammable biomass removed from the area. Presently the ground is being prepared for planting thousands of native Koa seedlings, currently being raised at the Native Nursery LLC on Maui.
Early next year the seedlings will be planted in the burnt areas and carefully tended until they reach maturity. Officials hope there will be a thriving mixed tree plantation that will serve many purposes including habitat for endangered plant and animals, forest product revenues and hunting and recreational opportunities.
The Regional Forester’s Honor Award is for leadership in a natural environment and recognizes the entire project team including DLNR Division of Forestry.