Our Mission and Vision

The MAHALO ‘ĀINA: Give Back to the Forest Challenge

This planted koaia in Waimea Nature Park is only a couple of miles from natural stands along the Kohala Mountain Road.

This planted koaia in Waimea Nature Park is only a couple of miles from natural stands along the Kohala Mountain Road.
Courtesy of Dr. J.B. Friday.

Hawai‘i is well known for its mild, sub-tropical weather. Less known is the fact that Hawai‘i has climates that rival the harshest places on earth. From Alpine snow to desert-like sand and deep, lush rainforests, our ecosystems provide opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy, explore, learn and restore through the beauty and wilderness that awaits them on our beautiful islands.

We count on our forests for everything from water, medicine, plants, food, and wild game to firewood, and forest products. Although our society frequently looks for solutions to our most immediate concerns, we often overlook the needs of the future. A healthy and productive forest is a balanced and bountiful system that deserves our care, consideration and respect. HFI supports forest restoration and reforestation projects, while offering forest stewardship experiences for residents and visitors.

Few species reached the Hawaiian archipelago before humans arrived, however those original colonizing species evolved into an incredible array of uniquely adapted species that gradually transformed the rocky volcanoes of the Hawaiian Islands into lush tropical islands full of life. We believe that sustainably managing our forests by protecting and enhancing wildlife habitat is of vital importance to the future of our precious forest resources.

Protecting forest watersheds is a cost effective and efficient way to absorb rainwater and replenish groundwater. Healthy watersheds also reduce impacts from climate change by absorbing greenhouse gases and reducing flooding, erosion, and siltation of reefs and fisheries. Forests not only sustain irreplaceable cultural and natural values; they help us to tell our story and offer us valuable opportunities to connect with the ‘āina. We are fortunate that strong watershed partnerships have been formed in Hawai‘i and that approximately 2.2 million acres have been rededicated for uses in restoration, conservation, and appropriate economic forest development. However crucial work still remains to be done. Through the MAHALO ‘ĀINA program, we aim to build upon these successes, with the help of supporters like you. More than a dozen reforestation, education and seed-saving projects benefit from the MAHALO ‘ĀINA Program.

Alien species such as feral pigs and goats trample and devour vegetation, leaving bare ground or openings for alien plants to choke out native species. While controlling these and other threats requires the efforts of many, there is a vibrant movement in this direction. Hawaii’s forest ecosystems face many challenges, but with your help and support, we will continue to protect, restore and perpetuate forest ecosystems across the Islands. It is an exciting time to be involved in protecting and perpetuating Hawaii’s forests.


The MAHALO ‘ĀINA: Give Back to the Forest Program helps to ensure a thriving future for the Hawai‘i Forest Institute’s forest restoration and education programs to benefit the ‘āina and people of Hawai‘i for generations to come.

He ali‘i ka ‘āina: He kauwa ke kanaka
The land is chief: Man its servant.