The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii

1116 Smith Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96817
Tel: (808) 537-4508
Fax: (808) 545-2019

Hawai`i's Nature Heritage: Unique and Vulnerable

The natural environment of Hawai`i is one of our plant's most magnificent treasures.

Ninety percent of Hawaii's plants and animals (more than 10,000 species) exist nowhere else on Earth. The only tropical rainforests in the United States are found here.

But Hawai`i's rare beauty and diversity of life are also exceptionally fragile.

More species face possible extinction in Hawai`i than anywhere in the nation. Although Hawai`i occupies only 0.2% of the land area of the United States, nearly 75% of the nation's documented plant and bird extinctions are from Hawai`i.

With extiction occurring at rates thousands of times greater than normal, scientists predict that the battle to save hundreds of Hawai`i's native species will be won or lost in the next decade.

Why Does It Matter to Us?

Extinction is irreversible.

There is no way to replace a specis once all of its members are gone. For thousands of species, Hawai`i is their only home, and our help is their only hope for survival.

We need fresh water.

Forest watersheds supply us with almost all the fesh water we need for our families, businesses and visitor industry.

We need agricultural resources.

Our agricultural industry depends on Hawai`i's mild climate and water supply, and therefore depends on healthy forest watersheds. Hawaiian species have already contributed to the genetic improvement of major agricultural crops

We need medicines.

We rely on native organisms for 75% of all the pharmaceutical products and medicines we use. Penicilliin, digitalis, and morphie are a few examples. Without protection of our natural lands and species, we may never know the value of what we are losing.

Hawai`i is a center of scientific study

Hawai`i is an unparalleled natural laboratory for the study of genetics and evolution. Studies of native insects have already revolutionized scientific understanding of how species evolve.

Hawai`i's economy depends on its envrionment.

Tourism is Hawai`i's number one industry. Hawai`i's lush green forests, vibrant coral reefs, and crystal clear waters provide scenic value beyond measure.

Hawaii's culture is linked to its rich natural heritage.

Hawaiian cutlural traditions reflect a close, long-standing relationship with the islands' landscape, native species, and ecological processes.

Nature is celebrated in chant, song, and dance.

The Hawaiian culture cannot survive without the land and natural resources from which its traditions evolved.

The Role of The Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy of Hawai`i is an internation non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of Hawaii's native forests and wildlife.

We protect the plants and animals that best preserve the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the places they need to survive.

We are an affiliate of The Nature Conservancy, an international organization established in 1951.

With programs in all 50 states, the Caribbean, Latin American, Canada, and the Pacific, The Nature Conservancy manages the largest system of private nature perserves in the world, and has helped protect more than 6 million acres in the U.S. and Canada.

The Preserves of the Nature Conservancy of Hawai`i