By Wendy Osher
Six new Hawaiian trees have been crowned as national champions in the American Forests’ Big Tree Program, including four from the Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve on Hawai‘i Island.
In addition to the Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a selections, a wiliwili tree was also named to the list from Pu‘u Lani Ranch on Hawai‘i Island; and a coconut tree in Hawai‘i Kai on O‘ahu de-throned the two previous coconut champions located at Kapuaiwa on Moloka‘i.
Hawai‘i is now home to a total of 10 nationally recognized champion trees, according to information released by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
There were no Maui trees on the list this year; however, an `a`ali`i tree at the Maui Nui Botanical Gardens was selected last year to the National Register of Big Trees.
State Forestry manager Sheri Mann said the trees help highlight the beauty and uniqueness of Hawaiian ecosystems, as well as the importance of preserving native forests.
Program officials say the goal of the program is to preserve and promote the iconic stature of these living trees and to educate people about the key role that they play in sustaining a healthy environment.