For many centuries, ancient Hawaiians have utilized native and endemic plants for their well-being such as nutritional, medical, and survival necessities. But throughout civilization plants have helped humans survive and strive to help guide us to where we are today. We owe Mother Nature a lot for taking care of us and now it is the time we take care of her. We must first start at home which is Hawai?i and reforest our native environment. So, for this reason, I believe native Hawaiian plants should be better protected and propagated in effort to meet the nutritional and medicinal needs of Hawaii?s residents. It all started when the first Polynesian settlers arrived in the Hawaiian Islands. It is said that the earliest known settlement would have been found near Waimanalo Beach at approximately 500 A.D. (Scott 1). On their voyage, they have brought a few fruits and vegetables so they wouldn’t starve upon finding new land, but they sailed back to their homeland and brought back the plants necessary to survive on the new land they have found. With them, they brought what was is called “canoe” plants which were not endemic but was brought over for vegetation purposes. Some examples were taro, bananas, coconut, etc. For the next couple of generations into the future, these native and endemic plants and vegetables played big roles in the ancient Hawaiian culture and are somewhat still used today. Many Hawaiians feel the need to keep the tradition of using the land as their food resource; a big example is l??i (kalo) patches being used throughout the Hawaiian Kingdom.Nature of problem: In Hawaii, less than 25 percent of Hawaii?s natural forests remain. This has brought up a huge controversy because Hawai?i’s native plant population makes up 25 percent of the U.S’s species but is only getting 2 percent of the nation’s endangered-species funding (Credit). But let’s go back and find out why these native plants are even going extinct. Approximately around the 1800’s is when the first sugar plantation started in Hawai’i and in order for them to grow and produce sugar cane, they needed land (Credit). So that’s when they started to cut down native forests without realizing the long-term effects of what they are doing to the environment. This led to more and more plantations being built which then welcomed the tourism industry. Animals, Plants it supports, Humans, Environment around it.Deforestation, as you may know, does not only affect the forest, but it affects the ecosystem inside of it and around it. But it does a big role in affecting native species such as forests birds, the Hawaiian hoary bat, and many many more native species. Most animals and insects do rely on the plants as a food source, shelter, etc. Comparing these animals to humans, if you take away our food source, water, and houses, it would be hard for us to survive. This is the life of some native species.On this topic alone, there have been much organization worldwide for reforesting native plants, and there are many Hawaiian based organizations such as the Hawaiian Conservancy Center, The Green Diamond, and many more. They have accomplished many amazing accolades such as For many years stated previously, native plants have been used in Hawaiian culture for many remedies for their lifestyles. For example how they would use M?maki for treating injuries to Koa for materials such as bowls all the way to huge canoes (Credit). So no doubt that reforesting Hawai?i forests is a great idea. Other than building, there are many uses for plants that should be used more than its normal. Secondly, by bringing native plants back, could improve the environment surrounding it. For doing this, possibly more native species besides plants, such as ?I?iwi, ?Apapane, or even some ?Akiap?l??au. Over the span of approximately 300 years, native and endemic species have been depleting in most Hawai?is forests. For many of these forests, those native species and animals played a vital role in keeping other species in place. For example, there is a well-known bird called the Pueo that helps keep forests in tack by eating the dangerous animals such as the mongoose or other tiny pests that bother other species of that forests. Things like these are reasons why some animals play such big roles in their environment and bringing back some native plants would most likely bring back the native species. Thirdly and lastly native species like I said previously plays a big role in Hawaiian culture. As a native Hawaiian, I feel that our culture at one point in history was going to be wiped out completely which is sad to say. Stated in The Hawai?i Conservancy Pamphlet, Mark Thompson stated: “Each time we lose another Hawaiian plant or bird or forest we lose a living part of our ancient culture.”(Thompson 1). This should be a big wake up call for all Hawaiians if they want to keep their land and keep their culture. An opposition towards native species is the incorporation of other plants that do not show a negative effect on its environment but rather aid others. Plants like the candlenut are commonly used in Hawai?i but are not native. So by the reforestation of mostly native plants, could then lead to the depletion of non-native but also helpful plants. Some nonnative species also house some important native insects that all help out each other.A second opposition is some native species will eventually take up many forests and not all native plants are good. This could play a big role in whether or not the rest of the forests will thrive or not. For many Hawaiians would be thrilled to see that many native plants are being reforested but they might not see the bigger picture of what could happen.
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