MAUNA KEA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state estimates more than 95 percent of the Christmas trees sold in Hawaii are imported from the mainland. Now, a growing effort on the Big Island is hoping to change that.
On a remote hillside of Mauna Kea, the Aina Mauna Christmas Tree Demonstration Project has planted more than 3,200 seedlings of Douglas Fir and other Christmas trees.
The Hawaii Forest institute began the project in 2014. They say the main purpose is to replace the need for imports, and to prevent invasive species from coming into the state.
"Getting good seeds from good seed sources is one of the challenges, and getting nurseries that are able to grow the seedlings because they are pretty difficult to grow. They're prone to fungus when there's high humidity," the organization said.
The project will also look at what types of other Christmas style trees can be grown at mid-to-lower elevations.
"It looks pretty good so far," Heather Simmons, executive director of the Hawaii Forest Industry Association said, estimating approximately 90 percent of the most recent plantings made earlier this year survived.
For more information on the program, click here.