Hawai´i Island’s dryland forests are the most endangered dryland forests in the world and wildfires have played a large role in their demise. A partnership effort, funded by the Hawai`i Wildfire Management Organization, is working to mitigate and reverse this loss by establishing the Hawaii Island Native Seed Bank Cooperative. The Hawai`i Forest Institute is administering the project and Jill Wagner, Biological Services Consultant, is coordinating the project.
The need for banking seed is critical as native habitat loss due to wildfires, ungulate grazing, and development continues to altar the landscape at an alarming rate. The precious species of Hawaii’s dry forest, mesic, and wet forest ecosystems need to be protected in many ways. Saving seed is one way; it allows people to mitigate habitat loss by doing seed broadcasting, restoration, creating living fuel breaks, and research. The seed collections are intended to serve research and restoration on Hawaii Island. All accessions are made up of species from Hawaii Island. In cooperation with local, State, and Federal agencies, the seed bank also collects and accepts seed from rare, threatened and endangered species of Hawai’i. Contractual collections are stored under contract to and remain the property of outside agencies or organizations. All other collections are either shared for restoration at various sites in need of seed, or are saved strictly for the partner site. Each partner site states whether they want to save the seed for their own future projects or if they are giving the seed to be shared with other sites.
Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden
Hawaii Wildfire Management Organization
Ka‘ūpūlehu Dryland Forest, Kamehameha Schools
State of Hawai‘i, Pu‘u Wa‘a Wa‘a
Lyon Arboretum Seed Repository
The National Park Service
The Nature Conservancy
Kona Community Individuals
US Forest Service
Pu’u Wa’a Wa’a- Rogers Ranch
Waikoloa Dryland Forest Initiative
Nakoa Foundation (Makalawena)
A Working Seed Bank
Seeds are cleaned and dried to 20% moisture levels. The seed is bagged in moisture sealed bags and stored under refrigeration. The seed bank is a working seed bank, thus it is a “medium term storage” facility. The seeds are stored from 1 – 15 years and are intended to be used for on-going field projects. This helps to preserve genetic diversity, strength and continual evolution of parentage. Rare seed that is collected and stored is also shared with a long-term storage facility, at the Lyon Arboretum Seed Conservation Laboratory on O’ahu. Alvin Yoshinaga, of the University of Hawai’i-Manoa’s Center for Conservation Research and Training and the retired head of its Seed Conservation Laboratory in Honolulu, has been advising the group on the development of seed collection and storage protocols. The focus for collections is on orthodox seed, seed that will dry and store for long periods. Recalcitrant seed (seed that must stay moist to stay alive), has special storage requirements that we do not have at this time. The following partial list reflects some of the species that are currently being saved.
Partial Species List:
Acacia koaia, koaia
Argemone glauca, pua kala
Bidens micrantha, ko’oko’olau
Canavalia hawaiiensis, awikiwiki
Capparis sandwiciana, maia pilo
Chenopodium ohauense, aweoweo
Dodonaea viscosa, aali’i
Kokia drynarioides, kokia
Myoporum sandwicensis, naio
Osteomeles anthylidifolia, ulei
Pittosporum hosmeri, ho’awa
Sophora chrysophylla, mamane
What the Seed Bank can do for You:
- Provide you with common native Hawaiian seeds for your restoration project
- Clean and store your seeds properly at the seed bank until you need them
- Give advise and information about collecting native seed
- Keep records of sources, dates, and time limits for seed
What You can do for the Seed Bank:
- Donate seed from your wild native plants to share
- Volunteer to help collect seed
- Donate funds to support the Seed Bank
Please support the health of Hawaiian forests by giving your time or donation to the Seed Bank.
It all begins with the seed.
Contact the Seed Bank
For more information about the seed bank project, contact Jill Wagner, Project Coordinator, at 325-2377 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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