Domesticated rabbits on Molokai that have escaped or been released have been reported around the island and pose a dangerous threat to the ecosystem if not controlled, according to local natural resource managers.
“There are confirmed sightings in a widespread area,” said Butch Haase, executive director of the Molokai Land Trust (MLT). “They could cause devastating ecological and economic impacts like nothing we’ve seen before.”
Haase said MLT staff found a rabbit in one of its fenced restoration sites in the Mokio Preserve near Ilio Point.
“The rabbit had been browsing the endangered ohai plants within the fenced site to the point of killing many of the plants,” he said, adding the animal was large and mostly white. “The rabbit was captured and removed, but there have been other sightings across central and west Molokai.”
Rabbits have also been reported near Hale O Lono, Kaluakoi, Kalae, Ho`olehua, Kaunakakai and Kawela.…
A recent Hawaii Dept. of Agriculture (DOA) land use study shows dramatic changes in agriculture land use in the last 35 years, both on Molokai and statewide. Most of Molokai’s agriculture is in the Ho`olehua area, on DHHL, state and Molokai Ranch land. According to the DOA report, the largest ag land users in 2015 — farming about 2,300 acres — are seed companies that primarily lease from Molokai Ranch. Prior to 1980, many Ho`olehua homesteaders leased their land for pineapple production, while some of that land today is being used to grow diversified crops like sweet potatoes, dryland taro, vegetables, macadamia nuts, bananas and papayas, according to the study.…
DLNR News Release
The `Aha Moku Advisory Committee (AMAC) has scheduled a series of public meetings this month to seek comment from communities in `ahupua`a districts as it develops and adopts rules for its operation and administration.
Created by the Legislature in 2012 via Act 288, the `Aha Moku Advisory Committee is attached to the State Dept. of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and is mandated to bring the voices of the `ahupua`a communities forward to the Department on issues related to natural and cultural resources.
“AMAC may advise the DLNR on issues related to land and natural resources management through the ‘Aha Moku system of best management practices,” said Leimana DaMate, AMAC executive director.…
By Glenn I. Teves, UH CTAHR County Extension Agent
Josiah Hunt of Pacific Biochar is the mover and shaker in the use of biochar in Hawaii and other areas of the world, and will be presenting a workshop on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 5 p.m. at UH Maui College-Molokai Farm located in the Molokai Agricultural Park.
Although the word “biochar” may be new, the idea of using charcoal for food production is not new. In the Amazon Basin, unearthed areas have been found to contain layers of biochar that enriched the poor soils of these high rainfall regions. High rainfall in the tropics can leach or wash away key nutrients, especially bases such as Calcium, Magnesium, and Potassium, key elements for optimal plant growth, and these conditions are found in high rainfall areas of Molokai.…
Community members viewed the names of the original homesteading families on display at the celebration. Photo by Colleen Uechi.
When homesteaders first took up residence on Molokai lands, they had to start from the ground up. Families worked hard together to put in roads and set up large wooden tanks to catch the rainwater for drinking and farming. They combined labor and resources to sow crops and purchase farming equipment.
Ninety years later, Ho`olehua’s fertile lands are inhabited by their thriving descendants, who own homes, grow crops and use the infrastructure put in place by their ancestors.
Last week, the Ho`olehua Homestead Association remembered its history at the homestead’s 90th anniversary celebration.…
By Glenn I. Teves
The next round of the Hawaiian Homesteaders Gardening Program will start in late November. The purpose of this educational program is to increase homestead families access to fresh vegetables. Participants will be taught all aspects of establishing and managing a garden, and growing vegetables adapted to Molokai.
This program is open to all Hawaiian homesteaders residing on Molokai, and participation will be limited to 15 families. Classes will be held two to three times each month from 4:30 to 6 p.m., with occasional workshops. The choice of a Tuesday or Thursday meeting date will be determined by participants.…
Young enthusiasts show off their harvest. All photos courtesy of Harmonee Williams.
At last month’s Taro Field Day, Molokai residents celebrated cultural and agricultural traditions, harvested their own kalo to grown in their backyards, and participated in a prestigious cooking contest honoring a queen’s commitment to taro.
The annual event offers community members a chance to learn about and be a part of efforts to preserve dozens of historic taro species, as well as taste test poi and kulolo made from varieties grown here on Molokai at the UH Maui Community College Farm in Ho`olehua. Attendees could also venture into the field after receiving a labelled map to select and harvest plants of their favorite varieties.…
By Elisabeth Kaneshiro, Molokai Meli
Here at Molokai Meli, in addition to producing local honey, we also help residents and businesses with bee removal. We have had a lot of calls for removals and have seen the bees moving around. Honey bees swarm when the hives are getting too big and need more space. The rain causes the bees to swarm more often because the bees are bringing more nectar so the hive grows. The bees make a new queen and take a big group with the old queen and leave. These often look like a big cloud. They send out the scout bees to go and look for a new home.…
Sust`aina ble Molokai and UH Cooperative Extension Service News Release
The Molokai Taro Variety Field Day will be held on Saturday, Sept. 19 at the Molokai Applied Research and Demonstration Farm, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The annual event has been organized by the UH Cooperative Extension Service since 1985, and is something that many residents look forward to. This year promises to be another outstanding event.
An important highlight of this year’s Taro Day is The Queen’s Challenge Taro Competition. This year, Molokai has been selected to host the competition, which is held annually at selected sites around the Pae `Aina in honor of Queen Emma Kalanikaumakaamano Kaleleonalani Na`ea Rooke, who recognized the value of the Hawaiian taro varieties and has written in detail on methods she used to produce large kalo (taro).…
By Alton S. Arakaki, County Extension Agent
In 1895, Katherine Lee Bates wrote the famous words “for amber waves of grain” in the lyrics of “America the Beautiful.” I didn’t know what the words meant until my teacher pointed to the thousands of acres of sugarcane and I watched the countless wave-like action of leaves as the wind move across the field. In this live classroom, he concluded that the mainland kids would never identify with words “for green waves of sugarcane” if Katherine Bates had used them instead.
These same kinds of words were written in the journals of early sailors and missionaries arriving in Hawaii, to describe the fields of kalo or taro, ko (sugarcane), uala or sweet potato, and mai`a (banana) they observed as they sailed the coast and walked from one island district — ahupua`a — to the next throughout Hawaii.…