How To Monetize Forest Conservation

Like many highly prized hardwood trees, Hawaii’s mighty Koas have been disappearing at an alarming rate. Sought-after for furniture and guitar-making, boats, and housing, there are said now to be only 10% of the Koas that there were 200 years ago. At the current pace of replanting, the species could be virtually wiped out in a decade or two.


That’s where Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods, a social good enterprise based in Honolulu, aims to make a difference. At a 1,200-acre site on the Big Island, it’s developed five revenue-streams that allow its forest to grow and stay intact, all the while paying for upkeep, investment, and the company itself.

“When we started this, we tried to make the forest more valuable as a standing forest,” says Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods (HLH) CEO Jeff Dunster. “We found that there’s no direct solution, no one way to do it. But our five income streams return more income per acre than anything you can do with land in Hawaii, apart from growing pot.”

Source: Fast Company

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