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Friday, October 26, 2007

Eco-Tour

Yesterday we took an eco-tour of some of the jungle on the western side of the Big Island. It was fabulous. This botanist about 23 years ago bought up some "cattle" land and decided to let it go back to it's natural state. Since this part of the island gets lots of rain it didn't take any time at all for it to return to jungle. Along with the native plants he also has planted lots of other species of plant including different types of bamboo, which we found so interesting. It was just amazing to see what will grow in this environment.

We did learn that Hawaii has only about a dozen native plants and all are non poisonous and have no thorns. Theory is that when the plants first started growing on this island they did not need those defenses so quickly adapted to the environment. There was only one original mammal native to this island, the bat. Everything else was brought here and they have had "trouble" with different animals on and off over the years. Mongoose were brought in to take care of rats but the mongoose didn't eat the rats as they are day time predators so they have proliferated here. Also donkeys, pigs, and goats to name a few, are animals that were brought here for a reason then let go into the wild.
It was also so incredible to see how lava will support so much life if you just give it a little water. There are parts of the island covered in lava that have nothing growing, but these areas that get very little water, and one area gets only about 10 inches a year. Some areas where there is newer lava, have so much water that they are already lush jungles. We also learned that very little topsoil is brought onto the island. It isn't needed. Even the lush green grass growing around the resorts grows on crushed lava, just needs some fertilizer and water.

What an amazing place. And we were able to visit the Kona Coffee Company that was featured on Dirty Jobs, we love that show. Organic coffee, and they also make tea. I have just a few pictures to share.




1 comment:

Ren said...

The mongoose didn't take care of the rats, but they ensure there will never be snakes in Hawaii!! :)

I'm missing the big island even more now....
I'm so glad you all experienced such an amazing place.