Many of Hawaii’s ecosystems are among the most endangered ecosystems in the world. For example, over 95% of Hawaii’s dry forests have been destroyed, and over 25% of the endangered taxa in the Hawaiian flora are from dry forest. The need for banking seed is critical as native habitat loss due to wildfires, ungulate grazing, and development continues to alter the landscape at an alarming rate. It is vital that the precious species of Hawaii’s dry, mesic, and wet forest ecosystems be perpetuated. Seed banking is an important strategy for conservation.
The Hawai‘i Forest Institute (HFI), in collaboration with community partners, is working to mitigate and reverse this loss through the Hawai‘i Island Native Seed Bank Cooperative. By storing seed in the Seed Bank, project partners can help mitigate habitat loss by banking seed for the future and creating a genetic safety net for Hawaiian species, and for uses such as broadcasting seed, performing restoration work, creating living fuel breaks, and conducting research. The Seed Bank is coordinated by HFI Biological Services Consultant Jill Wagner.
The objectives of the Seed Bank are to:
- Protect the precious species of Hawaii’s dry forest, mesic, and wet forest ecosystems by saving seed.
- Provide partners with common native Hawaiian seeds for their restoration projects.
- Clean and store the seeds properly at the seed bank.
- Give advice and information about collecting native seed.
- Keep records of sources, dates, and time limits for seed
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