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There's a goal of ensuring Hawaiʻi has 100M trees by 2030

Acacia koa plantation mauna kea big island.jpg
J. B. Friday
University of Hawaiʻi
Ten-year-old koa planted in a former pasture under scattered ‘ōhi‘a (Metrosideros polymorpha) trees in windward Mauna Kea on Hawaiʻi Island,

Helping 100 million trees to thrive by 2030. That’s the goal set by Gov. David Ige's office.

In order to meet that mark, the state plans to plant or conserve thousands of acres of forest in the coming decade. It’s part of a larger statewide strategy to fight climate change. But what’s behind that number — 100 million?

The Conversation spoke with Travis Idol, a University of Hawaiʻi associate professor of tropical forestry and agroforestry in order to find out. He said the 100 million trees as a goal is just the beginning.

"We have millions for sure. I think the state probably controls about a million acres of forest lands. And so if you think there are probably hundreds of trees per acre of land on some nice good forests, then you're talking about maybe 100 million trees or more just on state land," Idol said. "So we have hundreds of millions of trees, I bet."

While Hawaiʻi probably has at least 100 million trees right now, Idol said it's important to manage Hawaiʻi's forests and ensure their survival.

"They've been affected and highly altered by human activities for a long time," he told Hawaiʻi Public Radio. "We need to be out there managing them and sometimes that means planting new trees. It means even removing trees we don't want there such as invasive species. So all of those things that are mentioned in that pledge — conserving, restoring, planting, growing — all of those are things we do need to do, not only to maintain the trees we have, but to replace trees that probably are going to need to come down, and maybe in the right kind of conditions, to expand the forests that we have."

This interview aired on The Conversation on Oct. 11, 2021.

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