BY TOM LODGE – Hawaii has a characteristic environment designed to encourage investigation of the great outdoors and the abundant resources, both natural and introduced we have to offer. Unique forests compliment striking seascapes, accommodating clear water oceans, and colorful flora and fauna populate the mountaintops.
Here in Hawaii, hunting has had a long tradition that for political reasons is being eradicated. For a dependent island economy this is at best senseless, and an affront to cultural, traditional, and recreational endeavor. It is a blunder of significance for the long-term health and safety of our forests when you pit one constituent against another with little benefit ultimately for the forest itself. Cooperative Resource Management, which joins stakeholders in the maintenance and running of our forests, necessitates an agreement of ideas and solutions between parties to be successful.
Hunting in our forests with a value on the game hunted, is profitable business and it complements other resources in our forests. If we protect our forests through giving all users rights to that forest, you do two things immediately, as I see it, and many more over the long haul. Directly, you form a beneficial coalition with an interest in conserving the forests and ecosystems found today in our forests.
Two things here; One, we have a NARS program that presently encompasses 123,431 acres with a goal to save specific representative areas as close to that as found here pre-contact and “pristine”. What we also have in place is “Hahai no ka ua i ka ululā`au, the rain follows the forest” (https://hawaii.gov/dlnr/chair/pio/nr/2011/The-Rain-Follows-the-Forest.pdf). Read it. This is a massive sales promotion to transform all our forests with a virtual NARS like mandate.
Our forests today are in great shape, just not in “pre-contact” condition. What is necessary for a watershed is a forest with water so let the trade winds flow! Actually rain is the requisite for our watersheds, but they will be asking for millions from us to fund these schemes.
There is no question that proper wildlife management functions to make comparative values of wildlife, in our case introduced resources, competitive with other forms of land use, is non-destructive, protective of our ecosystems and protects the forest from harvest.
Hunting makes for a profitable economics and is a positive use of our resources. Hunting pays for the resource rather than taxing for the resource. Hunting provides real dollars for merchants, hotels, airlines, restaurants, and spreads the message of Aloha throughout the world, and it is good recreation and sustenance for our citizens, the rightful owners of the resource.
The economics of hunting is a positive use of our resources, with actual dollars flowing into the economy instead of some mystical “benefit value” of our resources… (7.4 to 14 Billion Dollars annually for the Koolau Mountains per the Hawaii Watershed Protection Plan… https://www.state.hi.us/dlnr/dofaw/wmp/ ) and doesn’t tax us for its benefit to us.
Hunting complements our forests, doesn’t desecrate what has become a treasured sanctuary for the people who have used the bounty of those forests for hundreds of years and spreads Aloha amongst us as fences and padlocks surely don’t.
Tom Lodge, Hawaii Hunting Association