Monday, February 13, 2012

Into the Jungle....with Friends

So today off we went on a class excursion.
Off into the deep, deep, tropical jungles of Kalihi Valley.
If you, the reader, have been following along at home, you remember that Hawaii is made up of several different forested regions.
First of course is the beach.
Okay, it's not really forested, but there are specific types of plants and stuff that grow there.
Today we went off to explore the upper rain forest, places where folks worked for a living.
We were hosted by folks of Kokua Kalihi Valley, kokua means help in the native lingo.
These are the same folks that help run Kvibe, the bicycle place I help out on Saturdays.
Anyways, they have some land way, way, way back in the jungle where they do some really good work:

Pardon my ignorance, but I think they said this meant something like "feed the land," which is what they are trying to do there, restore and reclaim the land from invasive species.
So off went!
On a hike.
Up a ridge.
No images here, for they are of students and they've got like a privacy thing built into their contracts.
You have to take my word for it that we were up on the mountain.
Best guess is oh around 3-400 feet up.
Which is strange for agriculture needs water, and water flows down hill.
The old Hawaiians were pretty smart though:

This is an upland kalo or taro patch.
You know, the plant they make poi out of.
That's the stuff growing in the foreground.
It's a dry type of kalo that doesn't need all the water the other kine needs.
Speculation is that this area once held wet kalo, but the source of water has since been diverted.
The wall has been restored and is thought to be around a thousand years old.
Remnants of the terracing:

The kids were there to help clear out some land, you know, pulling weeds and stuff, so that more patches like that can be started.
They are also using invasive trees to make vehicles:

I forget the name of the tree, but it comes from Africa and is quite prolific.
So prolific in fact that the canopy it produces is killing off native trees, by blocking sunlight, like this young koa tree:

The fact is, Hawaii has quite a few species of plants and animals that are native only to the islands.
Unfortunately, introduced animals and plants are slowly taking over and giving the indigenous stuff a run for their money.
The folks over at KKV and doing a great job.
Anyways, the kids learned a lot and I had a good time.
Even if it did involve a lot of walking.


Big Oak said...

From what I understand, Hawaii is riddled with invasive plants and animals. These have devestating effects on the native ecology. I'm glad there are folks investing time and energy into restoring native plant communities.

limom said...

Well, if you really think about it, every since humans first set foot here, they brough along stuff that wasn't here before.
I'm glad also that some folks are taking a long hard look at the stuff that's doing the most damage.
It's difficult, but I suppose every small patch of land that can be restored and eradicated can only be a good thing.