HONOLULU (KHON2) — The iconic Lahaina banyan tree is showing even more signs of life, after sustaining damage in the fire. Groups of leaves are sprouting. Arborists volunteering to save the 150-year-old tree say these are good signs for long-term recovery.

Check out more news from around Hawaii

This comes the Maui County Council on Friday recognized Ernie Renzents, one of Maui’s most respected arborists, who died in June at the age of 91.

“Ernie was a longtime advocate for protecting the Lahaina banyan tree, which he regarded as living treasure, noting is as one of the county’s most valuable assets,” reads a council recognition in his honor.

Meanwhile many in the community are also calling for restoration of other trees and crops. A traditional name for Lahaina is Malu Ulu o Lele, the shaded breadfruit grove of Lele, harking back to a time when historians say the area was an agroforest of ulu, coconut and kalo and was a lot cooler.

“The grove of ulu that provided an abundance of food free to the people was replaced by sugarcane to turn a profit for the colonizer plantations, plantations that then diverted the streams that set the stage for this devastating fire,” Maui County Councilmember Keani Rawlins-Fernandez said during Friday’s council meeting. “If we don’t tell our stories, not only will they not be preserved, but other stories will be told in its place and erasing our culture: a story of a banyan tree as a symbol of Lahaina. We have the blueprint of what worked. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel to prevent fire.”

Download the free KHON2 app for iOS or Android to stay informed on the latest news

Learn more about the history of ulu and other plants in Lahaina:

Hawaii Ulu Cooperative has resources for planting this sustainable staple crop: