Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative Plants 500,000th Tree

PAAUILO, Hawaii, Feb. 18, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative (HLRI) today announced the planting of its 500,000th native tree in Hawaii.  More than 1,200 acres of former pastureland on both Oahu and Hawaii Island have been reclaimed and returned to native forest.  “It’s wonderful to witness the birth of a forest, but there is much more going on here.  This project goes beyond just planting trees. It is developing entire native ecosystems, right down to the shrubs, flowers, and grasses. We are seeing unparalleled research and development advances and seeing the return of the endangered birds that historically occupied these lands. The `io (Hawaiian hawk), the pueo (Hawaiian owl), and the nene (Hawaiian goose) all have taken up residence again in the Legacy Forests. It’s remarkable how fast these changes are happening,” said HLRI Board Chairman Francis Wong.

In addition, the Legacy Forests are creating permanent green jobs, reducing the effects of climate change through carbon sequestration, restoring our watershed, and producing the air that we breathe.  Experts estimate that over the 50-year lifetime of a single tree, it will produce $31,250 worth of oxygen and $62,000 worth of air pollution control.  Each tree will recycle $37,500 worth of water and prevent $31,250 of soil erosion. This data suggests that one tree will produce a societal benefit of $162,000. Given the fact that 500,000 trees have been planted in the Legacy Forests, the sponsors of these trees have collectively given the state of Hawaii a gift worth $81 billion.

“HLRI owes the success of this project to many great organizations—in particular, the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, The Kahala Hotel & Resort, ‘Alohilani Resort Waikiki Beach, and the Hawaii Convention Center. Through these partnerships, tens of thousands of individuals have participated in the Legacy Tree program. The simple act of sponsoring a tree by countless individuals has transformed these lands. The success of these forests really belongs to all of them,” said HLRI Executive Director Jeff Dunster.

Each Legacy Tree has a story to tell, planted and sponsored as a living legacy to honor an individual or memorialize a loved one. Each sponsored tree is individually tagged and can be tracked throughout its lifetime with a unique RFID (radio-frequency identification) number by visiting TreeTrackerTM at findmy.LegacyTrees.org.

One more reason to feel good about this forest is that each time a $90.00 Legacy Tree is sponsored, one third of the proceeds will be donated to the nonprofit organization of the sponsor’s choice. The Legacy Tree program supports more than 400 charities worldwide, truly planting roots in both the forest and in the community.  Learn more about sponsoring your own legacy tree at LegacyTrees.org.

About HLRI: Through state-of-the-art technologies and methodologies, HLRI works with landowners to establish and preserve economically viable and sustainable endemic Hawaiian forests, protect endangered species, sequester carbon and recharge watersheds. HLRI’s Legacy Trees are sponsored by businesses and individuals, with a portion of proceeds donated to other charities worldwide. For more information, visit LegacyTrees.org

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