Lyon Arboretum is awarded funds to save threatened plant species

HONOLULU (KHNL) - With nearly half of all known native Hawaiian plants classified as threatened or endangered the State Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife awarded Lyon Arboretum $150,000, in an effort to save rare Hawaiian plants and trees from extinction.

"DLNR is pleased to partner with Lyon Arboretum to expand the existing capacity of statewide seed storage for Hawaiian plants and to provide staff for rare plant restoration and conservation on the island of Oahu," said DLNR chairperson, Laura Thielen.

Due to a variety of circumstances the restoration of some rare plant species native to Oahu can not be done at this time. Specialists believe a lack of remaining habitat and the reproduction factors of some seeds make it difficult for certain plants to survive. However, they believe that in cold storage conditions seeds can be maintained long term and used later for restoration programs.

"These programs are vital to the perpetuation of the native and endangered plants and ecosystems of our islands," said Thielen, "We have seen the devastating loss of the wiliwili trees statewide, and seed banks give us the hope of being able to restore these species once we identify biological controls."

"The ultimate goal is to aid recovery of rare species in Hawaii," said Dr. Christopher Dunn, director of the Lyon Arboretum, "These funds will greatly improve the effectiveness and efficiency of rare plant recovery."

Seeds will be obtained from a variety of sources, including federal and State agencies, and other botanic gardens and land owners.