Maui News

Invasive Pines Removed, Now Serve as Christmas Trees

December 16, 2014, 12:27 PM HST
* Updated December 16, 1:23 PM
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Photo courtesy of Matt Wordeman, President of Friends of Haleakalā.

Photo courtesy of Matt Wordeman, President of Friends of Haleakalā.

By Maui Now Staff

This past weekend, Haleakalā Ranch welcomed 200 Friends of Haleakalā volunteers for their annual Christmas Tree cutting event.

Volunteers removed close to 500 invasive pine trees from the Puʻu Nianiau area near the entrance to Haleakalā National Park.

The fresh pines have since become Christmas trees for Maui families while the greenery was collected for the Montessori School of Maui holiday fundraiser.

The removal effort comes as the park conducted a larger effort last week to eliminate 3,000  invasive pine trees at the park, including three non-native pine species—the Monterey pine, the Mexican weeping pine, and the maritime pine.

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According to park staff, the trees displace endemic and endangered species, change soil chemistry, and increase the potential for wildfire in habitats not adapted to fire.  The removal is expected to conserve the iconic crater views and protect species that depend on native habitats for survival.

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A second phase of the pine control project is scheduled to take place in the Summer of 2015.

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