I was born on the island of Oahu and lived for many years on
the mainland. In 1990 I returned to Hawaii and worked as a computer technician
in Honolulu. I moved to the Big Island of Hawaii in 1997 and fell in love with
it. After buying land in South Kona in 2003 I began caring for the forest and
trees. The low elevation dry land native forest here in Hoopuloa is one of the
few remaining areas with both native trees and older soils.
I have made it my mission to develop a method for sustainable
use of the native hardwood resources here, much as the Hawaiians did for several thousand years. The selection of which trees to harvest is done using the Hawaiian system of kapu e noa noa (taboo and
making free). This means forbidding harvest or allowing harvest of appropriate
trees, according traditional and modern thinking equal weight in the decision. I
work with both native Hawaiian kumu (teachers) and botanist/foresters from the USDA and the State of Hawaii Department of
Land and Natural Resources.
The idea of a sustsainable use of this very rare native forest
is controversial, but I believe that, by following the cultural practices of the native Hawaiians who were stewards of this
forest before European contact, it is possible. As well, I believe complying with all state and federal laws and regulations
protecting native species is a good common sense practice. Instead of intensive commercial forestry practices of our modern
society, such as roading building and machine harvesting of trees, I walk into this rugged terrain and hand carry the logs
out. This method imposes natural limitations on the type and amount of wood that can be harvested.