On land cleared of red mangrove and other alien species, Mālama Hulē‘ia will replant with appropriate native Hawaiian and Polynesian-introduced plants. To be appropriate, the plants must biologically fit the the intended environment. In most areas around the estuary of the Hulē‘ia, for example, this means that the plants must be salt tolerant and capable of growing in wet land, sometimes in the water. Equally important, we will replant with plants that are historically and culturally appropriate. This means that the plants should be known by and/or used by Hawaiians prior to the introduction of other plants by non-Hawaiians. So these either will be indigenous or native plants, or they will be “canoe” plants – those brought over by the early Polynesian settlers of Hawaii.
We start with the plants already found in our demonstration project site between the Pu‘ali Stream and the Niumalu Beach Park (pictured above after 7 months of mangrove eradication work). We assume that the plants currently growing there are biologically appropriate for the site. But there are many plants at the site that are not historically or culturally appropriate, including the red mangrove. Here are the plants we found there:
|California grass||Brachiaria mutica|
|Guinea grass||Panicum maximum|
|Hairypod cowpea vine||Vigna luteola|
|Haole koa||Leucaena leucocephala|
|Honohono grass||Commelina diffusa|
|Indian fleabane||Pluchea indica|
|Java plum||Syzygium cumini|
|Octopus tree||Schefflera actinophylla|
|Red Mangrove||Rhizophora mangle|
|Seashore paspalum||Paspalum vaginatum|
|Sour bush||Pluchea carolinensis|
|Areca palm||Dypsis lutescens|
|Chinese fan palm||Livistona chinensis|
|Feather Palm – skinny leaf||Archontophoenix alexandrae|
|Feather Palm – fat leaf||Ptychosperma macarthurii|
|Native or Polynesian-introduced|
|Kipukai, Nena||Heliotropium currasavicum|
|Niu, coconut||Cocos nucifera|
As we eradicate the red mangrove from this site, we will also eradicate all other non-native and non-canoe plants, with the possible temporary exception of the Seashore paspalum. This grass, which is better know locally as “opae grass,” is one of few that can grow well directly in brackish water. So until we can find a good replacement, it will remain to minimize soil erosion.
Hau, Milo and Niu were brought with the voyaging Polynesians. But Hau is invasive and will also have to be eliminated or somehow controlled. Milo is mildly invasive too, and we are cutting it back to only the best looking trees. Niu may present future management problems, but in this place called Niumalu (coconut tree shade), it seems highly appropriate to allow it to grow.
One of our aims for the demonstration site has been to open up the view plane looking makai from the Niumalu Beach Park. To achieve this goal, our replanting will include some trees for framing the views, but will involve mostly ground covers, sedges and low bushes.
First, we will keep the space open by helping the existing ground covers to spread, planting ‘akulikuli, ‘ae‘ae and kipukai in areas similar to those they currently occupy.
Then we will introduce grasses, sedges, shrubs and trees in places where they grow best and will best contribute to making the site attractive to both wildlife and people. We will strive for landscaping that looks and feels natural. Below are some of the candidate plants:
Grasses / Sedges: