The state Department of Land and Natural Resources has announced that six new Hawaiian trees have been crowned as national champions in the American Forests’ Big Tree Program.
The Big Tree Program is a nationwide competition to find the largest trees in the United States that are recognized as “champions” of their species.
According to American Forests, the goal of the Big Tree Program is “to preserve and promote the iconic stature of these living monarchs and to educate people about the key role that these remarkable trees and forests play in sustaining a healthy environment.”
American Forests’ newly released spring 2013 National Register of Big Trees includes about 40 new national champion trees, with a total of 780 national champions.
In 2012, Hawaii had six champions, including a koa, two coconuts, an aalii, a manele, and a hau.
With the six new champions, including a 112-foot coconut that knocked out the two previous coconut co-champions, Hawaii is now home to a total of 10 nationally recognized champion trees.
Hawaii’s six new champion trees are:
* Coconut (Cocos nucifera) in Hawaii Kai, Oahu
De-throned the two previous coconut champions located on Molokai
* Kolea (Myrsine lessertiana) at Puu Waawaa Forest Reserve, Hawaii Island
* Wiliwili (Eryrthrina sandwicensis) at Puu Lani Ranch, Hawaii Island
* Olopua (Nestegis sandwicensis) at Puu Waawaa Forest Reserve, Hawaii Island
* Papalakepau (Pisonia brunoniana) at Puu Waawaa Forest Reserve, Hawaii Island
* Mamane (Sophora chrysophylla) at Puu Waawaa Forest Reserve, Hawaii Island
“The Big Tree Program has really grown in Hawaii over the past few years, and we’re proud that some of our native trees are being recognized on a national level,” said Sheri Mann, forestry program manager at the Division of Forestry and Wildlife. “These trees help highlight the beauty and uniqueness of Hawaiian ecosystems, as well as the importance of preserving our native forests.”
New nominations for champion trees will be accepted until a fall deadline that has yet to be determined. All nominations must include the tree’s exact location and three measurements: trunk circumference (inches), height (feet), and average crown spread (feet). These are combined to assign the tree a score.
Send nominations and questions relating to the Hawaii Big Tree Program to:
1151 Punchbowl St., Room 325
For more information about the Hawaii Big Tree Program, visit: hawaii.gov/dlnr/dofaw/forestry…