HONOLULU (KHON2) — This Saturday, Nov. 11 beginning at 8 a.m., a group of local residents will be in Kahaluʻu where they are instigating a food tree planting project.

They will be working with donated machinery and volunteer operators to remove invasive haole koa trees and overgrown guinea grass in preparation for planting of about 70 food trees along Kahekili Highway.

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The target date for the planting of 35 ulu trees and 35 mountain apple trees (Ohiʻa ʻai) is mid-December.

So, why is this community led initiative being done?

Daniel Anthony, a community food security organizer, said that it is because these invasive plants species are contributing to the increased landslides that many have been experiencing, both homeowners and those who utilize our roadways.

Now the project is ready for you to come out and help with the efforts to save Hawaiʻi’s ecosystem from these invasive species that are also contributing to wildfires and drought/

According to Anthony, the invasive species they are targeting have shallow root systems. Meanwhile, the native species they are replacing them with have deep root systems that help replenish our aquifers and help stabilize the ʻāina.

The State Department of Transportation is in support of this community initiative and has given them the green light to clear the area and plant.

This project is being done for free, and it is made possible by way of donated trees, equipment, labor and EFFORT.

The Hawaiʻi Invasive Species Council (HISC)provides information on the issue of invasive plant species. The term “invasive species” has many ways to apply. For this particular conversation, it is used to describe plants that do not contribute to the ecosystem.

These plants are:

  1. harmful to the environment, economy, and/or human health and
  2. not native to Hawaiʻi (i.e., species that were introduced by human assistance rather than by their own means of introduction).

Keep in mind that not all nonnative plant species are invasive. This demarcation is used to isolate those plants that environmental or economic harm, or harm to human health.

The HISC said that Hawaiʻi has yet to adopt an official policy or identifying process to designate what is and what is not considered to be invasive.

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“If you’ve already reached out to volunteer, we’re looking forward to working with you when it’s time to plant, mahalo! If you’d like to help on Saturday, please get in touch with us via email at senawa@capitol.hawaii.gov, call us at (808)586-7330 or DM us on Instagram,” said project organizers.