HAWAII: Six big tree champions have been crowned in the state of Hawaii, part of American Forests’ National Register of Big Trees, and three are from the Big Island. Two of those are even easily accessible to the public.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources issued this press release on the winners today:

115 feet tall Koa-Acacia at Kona Hema Preserve, in South Kona (yes, that is a person standing at the base of the tree)

Six Hawaii trees received national titles in this year’s American Forests’ newly released National Register of Big Trees, which recognizes the biggest tree of hundreds of species, gave six Hawaii trees national titles. The Department of Land and Natural Resources submitted nominations for the state’s largest trees from community recommendations and the following trees were winners:

  • Acacia Koa in Kona Hema Preserve, Hawai‘i
  • Two Coconut in Kapuaiwa Coconut Beach Park, Moloka‘i
  • Hau tree at Hulihe‘e Palace, Hawaii
  • ‘A‘ali‘i at Maui Nui Botanical Gardens, Maui
  • Manele/Soapberry at Bird Park/Kipuka Puaulu, Volcano National Park, Hawaii

All of the trees except for the koa are accessible to the public. For information, map and a page for each of the trees, including their pictures, go [to this website]

“With forests covering approximately 749 million acres in the U.S., it’s a special honor to have a tree recognized as the biggest of its kind,” said Paul Conry, Administrator of the Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW).

Conry added, “In a year with 14 different billion-dollar weather disasters, America’s biggest trees proved that they’re survivors. For trees to grow bigger than their competition, it usually means that they’ve been protected and nurtured over the years. And, they’ve been lucky. Having grown into large, healthy trees, they now do their own job of protecting and nurturing the plants, trees, wildlife and even humans in their habitats.”

“These trees form the uniquely Hawaiian rainforest, an essential part of Hawaii’s biological and cultural heritage. Because these native trees absorb rainfall and cloud water, protecting these forests is the most cost effective and efficient way to secure Hawaii’s water supply,” said William J. Aila, Jr., DLNR Chairperson.

The 20 foot Hau, or Sea Hibiscus, at Kailua-Kona's Hulihee Palace

Since more than half of Hawaii’s original forest has been lost, immediate action is needed to protect the trees and forests that are essential to Hawaii’s water supply and provide many other benefits.

Governor Abercrombie has released a plan to protect these forested watersheds and steward the natural resources that Hawaii’s survival, economy, and quality of life depend on.

This 73 foot Manele, Soapberry Wingleaf, can be found at the trailhead of Kipuka Puaulu, part of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

Priority actions of the plan include managing invasive species, increasing Hawaii’s ability to withstand impacts from climate change, and restoring capabilities of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) by finding additional sources of funding. The plan can be viewed at hawaii.gov/dlnr/rain and a short video, “The Rain Follows the Forest” is posted on the DLNR homepage.

“We hope that including Hawai‘i on the national Big Trees register will help educate and encourage conservation of our native and culturally important trees,” said Sheri Mann, DOFAW Cooperative Resource Management Forester. “It is our goal to eventually create our own State of Hawai‘i Big Trees Program.”

To nominate a tree, three measurements are needed: Trunk Circumference (inches), Height (feet), and Average Crown Spread (feet). These are combined to assign the tree a score.
DOFAW staff also needs to know the exact location to verify any candidates. To learn more about the specific measuring requirements please review the guidelines at the American Forests website:

Please send your measurements along with GPS coordinates or specific directions to a candidate big tree to:
Sheri Mann, CRMF
1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 325
Honolulu, HI 96813
Or email her at Sheri.S.Mann@hawaii.gov

The DLNR has this table on its website, showing the 21 Eligible species for nominations for Hawaii’s Biggest Tree.