Honolulu – On November 2nd, thousands of trees will be given away on Hawaii’s 51st annual Arbor Day. The Kaulunani Urban and Community Forestry Program will be supporting a total of five Arbor Day giveaway events. Kaulunani is part of the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) and focuses on improving the health and viability of trees statewide.
We urgently need more trees in our communities. Hawaiʻi has been supporting tree giveaways for decades, but the need has drastically increased in recent years. Honolulu alone lost over 76,600 trees in just four years but has 7,924 acres that could be used for trees-and that is just in our communities and urban areas. Trees may be among our most accessible and affordable defense against climate change.
“If we act now, [we] could cut carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by up to 25%, to levels last seen almost a century ago,” claims Professor Tom Crowther, the senior author of a 2019 study published in Science magazine, which discusses global tree restoration potential. Planting trees was declared “the most effective climate change solution to date” in this same study.
“Although Arbor Day in Hawaiʻi will always be fun, this is no longer just a fun giveaway. We urgently need these trees to be adopted and planted to help us in the future. The powerful thing about our Arbor Day initiative is that community members are the ones that hold the power and standing on the front lines of climate change can be as easy as planting one free tree,” said Shannon Noelle Rivera, urban forestry consultant with Smart Trees Pacific..
The 2019 Arbor Day Oʻahu giveaways are presented in partnership by DOFAW’s Kaulunani Urban & Community Forestry Program, the USDA Forest Service, the City & County of Honolulu and Smart Trees Pacific. Additional support is provided by Waimea Valley, Aloha Arborist Association, Women’s Community Correctional Center, Oʻahu Urban Garden Ohana, University of Hawaiʻi Master Gardener Program, Hawaiʻi Gas, and Alexander and Baldwin. Tree giveaways on Kauaʻi and Maui are managed by local partners and are also supported by the DOFAW Kaulunani Urban & Community Forestry Program.