Bird Recovery Project promotes restoration, preservation

Since 1997, the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project has been helping to recover Maui's endangered birds and to restore their native habitats. Supporting their efforts are dedicated volunteers who share their passion – people like Monsanto’s Jaime Davidson.

Recently, Jaime along with fellow employees Kurt Adams and Jenna Bogen and other dedicated volunteers, participated in a four-day trip where they traveled by helicopter to the Nakula Natural Area Reserve (NAR) on the leeward side of Haleakala. Equipped with tools, supplies and plants for reforestation work, each day began at 8 am where they helped map out locations and plant native trees – akala, `ohi`a, mamane, `a`ali`i and ohelo.

All the trees that were planted were from seed that had been previously collected in the NAR, taken to Native Nursery, LLC in Kula, and propagated until they were ready to be transplanted. Trees were planted in corridors which ran across the slope, spaced approximately 10 feet apart, 300 plants to a corridor. On this particular trip, 1,200 natives were planted.

Anywhere you go in the world, lack of habitat is one of the biggest threats to any endangered species. Hawaii is no different. Deforestation from ungulates has taken its toll on native species and diversity throughout the islands. By creating exclusion areas, the goal of the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project is to restore native habitats that can support and allow the bird populations to grow.

Currently, these work trips vary from a single day to 7 to 10 days, depending on the task. For Jaime, who has participated in previous trips, this project and its mission hits home.

“I choose to participate in projects like this because the environment I live in is important and I want to contribute and give something back,” said Jaime. “Every day we enjoy living on Maui and are surrounded by some pretty cool things. If we don’t make an effort this will erode over time and soon this place will be beyond repair. It’s too easy for people to leave it to others, instead everybody should make an effort to help if they can.”

The Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project was formed by the State of Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In addition to research and restoration efforts, the project also helps educate the public on endemic forest birds and their conservation on Maui. For more information, visit www.mauiforestbirds.org.