Daniel Halsey 

An Agro-Ecosystem, Permaculture, & Ecological Restoration Designer

Building natural capital and biodiversity,

while raising the carrying capacity of the planet,

Molokai Restoration

1 Introductions

1.A There are supporting systems to start the progression to a restored community resource.

1.A.1 By the request and engagement of Walter Ritte, support for the SouthWoods Ecosystems Assessment and Report was provided by the Molokai Pule O'o, Trisha Kehaulani Watson of Aina Mo Hana, with assistance from Aloha Aina Fellows of the Molokai Community College.  The people of Molokai have a special moment in their history as they are being presented with an opportunity to buy back over 67,000 acres of privatized land and bring it back into the public domain. The purchase of the land will be a bellwether for the entire region and an inspiration to restore health to ravaged landscapes while maintaining and building economic vitality. It will definitely put Molokai on the ecological restoration radar. A definite need in these times of dire ecological loss.   Over 150 years ago the land was sold to corporate growers raising sugar cane, pineapple, and cattle; lost to the Molokai people. 1/3 of the island was fenced off excluding them from traditional land. At this time, the parcel is up for sale and available to the state, county, and Molokai people to reacquire for new homesteads, farming, and seriously-needed natural resource management. This is an opportunity that may not appear again for many generations. For a population to gain the use of its lost natural resources and double the livable space for future generations would seemly be automatic acceptance of any terms, however, the state of the land needs to be considered and due diligence must be taken before making any deal.  The current asking price is $5200 per acre, which includes many resources from previous development, but also losses.   Acquisition of this property would require immediate attention to ecological restoration. This should be considered as an opportunity to improve the future of Molokai as an ecological model for the rest of the Hawaiian Islands. Degradation issues on Molokai are also present to varying degrees on all of the other islands, more often to a greater degree. For its size, Molokai has a large percentage of land base in a degraded state, but it also has a large tract that can provide the remaining resources for the restoration to a green and botanically diverse ecosystem. Design-driving goals and measurable outcomes will show long term benefits for the quality of life on the island and increase economic opportunity during and long after the restoration.

1.A.2 In the property of Molokai Ranch exists infrastructure to support the training camps and a college campus for research, development, and education.  Although much of it is in disrepair, the baseline condition is usable with some forethought and progressive repurposing. Within Maunaloa, the closed resorts, and the three camps, exists structures to support the restoration efforts and at the same time are assets that can be used for immediate benefit. Repairs will need to be made to the infrastructure, but the infrastructure exists and can be modified to serve larger purposes. The camps are the most immediate space that would support training and site restoration. Simple structures with multiple uses and access to the restoration sites. Paid staff support visiting restoration trainees and trainers.

2 Stakeholders

2.A Kamehameha Schools

2.A.1 Kamehameha Schools - Kapalama Campus Private school in Honolulu, Hawaii Kamehameha Schools, formerly called Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estate, is a private school system in Hawai?i established by the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Estate, under the terms of the will of Bernice Pauahi ... Wikipedia  Address: 1887 Makuakane St, Honolulu, HI 96817 Campus: 3: Kap?lama, Honolulu; Pukalani, Maui; Kea'au, Hawai?i Endowment: 11.1 billion USD (2016) CEO: Livingston Wong (Sep 30, 2014–) Founded: 1887

2.B HUI O KUAPA

2.B.1 Walter Ritte

2.B.1.1 Hui o Kuap? is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 1989 for the purpose of supporting Native Hawaiian fishpond restoration, education & research.   6566 Kamehameha V Highway Kaunakakai, Hawai‘i 96748 Walter Ritte Joe Farber

2.B.2 Trisha Kehaulani Watson,

2.B.2.1 Trisha Kehaulani Watson, JD, PhD Owner and Senior Consultant  Honua Consulting 4348 Wai‘alae Avenue #254 Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96816  Tel: +1 808 392 1617 Fax: +1 888 392 4941  www.honuaconsulting.com watson@honuaconsulting.com  Facebook /honuaconsulting Twitter @honuaconsulting YouTube /honuaconsulting

2.C Citizens of Molokai

2.D Sustainable Molokai

2.E Molokai Land Trust

2.F Nature Conservancy

3 Area Name(s)

3.A Molokai Subsistence Reserve

3.B Molokai West Region

3.C Molokai West

3.D Molokai Ecosystem Preserve

3.E Kuleana Ohana

4 Assessment of Current Conditions for Restoration and Management

4.A The Collapse of the West Region Ecosystem

4.A.1 The ecological decline of Molokai's west region has been hidden from public view for more than a century. In the last 100 years roads have been cut across fragile soils and massive herds of Axis deer reduce ground cover and break up the soil. As each rain pours the islands most valuable and limited soil resource flushes into the ocean. Native and long-term Hawaiians know why the waters on the coast of Molokai are reddish brown, but only elders can remember when it was not this way. At one time, only decades ago, the reefs were clear, filled with fish and living coral on the longest continuous reef system in the United States. The silt that reaches out and covers the interior coral reef is the topsoil of Molokai. It is now 2 – 3 feet thick on the reef floor.   With private development, hidden land degradation, uncontrolled cattle grazing, invasive wildlife, and absentee land owners (who own almost 1/3 of the island), few of the 6500 - 7500 Molokai residents are aware of the islands imminent ecological collapse. The speed of loss has been too slow for public outcry, as catastrophic changes are subtle and happening over generations.    In the past years, unregulated and illegal roads were cut into the fragile soil base of steep hills above historical fishponds. Floods of mud have repeatedly flowed off the now unstable hills covering homesteads and areas used for local crops, fish, and aquaculture operations. No government or environmental agency has acted to correct these activities, even as the damage continues to increase across the entire Molokai coastline. Low land property owners and producers are left to defend their own land by digging additional ditches and plant rows of trees to hold back the tons of silt crossing their lands. These seemly small degraded spaces have not caused off-island officials to take Molokai ecosystem management and depletion seriously as they take many years to litigate the legal points in off-island courts.   Even for the people of Molokai, the damage to Molokai has been out of sight and out of mind. Only the deer hunters and a few ecologically aware individuals have traversed the closed lands to see the damage. Each off-contour access road cut across the land has become more drainage ditch than road; many are impassable or only accessible by large 4x4 trucks. They have become channels and feed the collected waters into the collapsing, widening, and deepening gulches, emptying mega-tons of topsoil into the sea.  This happens with every rain event, depleting the possibility for restoration, public use, and future benefit. With no action to correct this damage the island is less and less capable of absorbing the rains, which leave less water for trees and plants, causing more soils to be washed away. Fewer trees and grasses means desertification, drier seasons, and the acceleration of climate change on Molokai.   It is likely that most people of Molokai think they do not depend on its interior natural resources and are unaffected by the loss. Tourism accounts for the majority of island revenue. Even more sinister is the exclusion of native Hawaiians from a large section of their homeland by current and past owners. The ruse of economic development distracted from the overall land practices and development plans of the current owners of the west region largest property. The people of Molokai defeated the development of the west shorelines, but not the degradation. With that win seems to have come a malaise, while the shoreline gulches continue to suffer from neglect from other property owners. Each connecting gulch will increase the speed of the shoreline collapse. Each season will extend the silt over the larger reefs until the entire marine ecosystem system is buried.    To get to this state has taken many contributing factors. Early over grazing by cattle of the native plants on silty soil trampled and quickly eroded the land. Imported pasture grasses replaced native plants. Cattle preferred the tender native plants leaving only the Lantana, Sourgrass, and Mesquite.  As early as the 1920s the farm mangers wrote about the incompatibility of cattle and the island grazing.   In 1950, an article Conservation Magazine stated that the grazing of cattle on Molokai was causing soil loss.  The cattle continue to be grazed in most areas. A recent trip to the Makaolehua watershed, south of Maunaloa, showed appreciable improvement in plant growth after 30 years out of grazing use. The next ridges show kittle improvement since the soils and slope are different. Although cattle grazing started the initial ecological damage, it was followed by the import of Axis deer for game hunting.

4.B Area Data

4.B.1 South Shore

4.B.1.1 Kolo Gulch

4.B.1.2 Kahinawai Gl

4.B.1.3 One o Hilo Gl

4.B.1.4 Halena Gl

4.B.2 West Shore

4.B.2.1 Kaheu Gl

4.B.2.2 Subtopic

4.C The Ecology Unfolding

4.C.1 Ecosystems and habitat require a certain amount balance between all the elements to keep the resilience and growth supporting each plants an animal. Systems that go out of balance and begin to weaken the connections between soils, plants, animals, that create the ecosystem.  There is always a critical balance with some flexibility that is required to keep in ecosystem running and all the components interconnected. All the elements within an ecosystem have a role to play in supplying material recycling nutrients within the system. It takes many thousands of years for these relationships to develop. Soil takes many thousands of years to build on its base material (bedrock), usually stone of some nature. The only thing that keeps soil from washing away is the addition of plants. As soon as a small layer of soil is achieved, grasses and other plants we'll use it and begin taking hold of the area with their roots. As the plants emerge and die in a series of succession changes, they leave their organic material behind to be incorporated into the soil. Some plants will root into stone, sending their roots down narrow cracks for moisture and minerals. Over time the foliage will cover the soil and protect it from the sun. This also cools the soil allowing it to hold more water. With more water, comes more plant growth and thus a constant increase of organic material and nutrients within the soil base. Plants also protect the soil from heavy rains. Rain drops impact the soil and can cause it to become fluid and flow with gravity. Any loose soil or organic material is washed away to lower regions. Once enough volume and speed is created in the water flow can cut through layers of soil, creating deep fissures and further erosion. In time, the seed bank within the soil can sprout and grow, holding the new soil base in place where it may have been deposited during a rainstorm. If enough time passes, an entire area can be covered with grasses and small shrubs. Without plants, soil will erode and wash away to lower elevations, leaving the hilltops and hillsides bare and unprotected. After the topsoil has eroded away to the depths of subsoil, most of the organic material in seed bank it Is now missing. It becomes very difficult for seeds to emerge and root in the subsoil. Eventually the subsoil will also break up and erode with the   runoff filling ditches and lower elevations with sand, silt, and clay


1.A Shoreline and Reef Degradation

1.A.1  

 

1.A.1.1 In the case of the shoreline around Molokai, the eroding soils are poured directly into the ocean. Eventually the small particles sink to the bottom of the ocean near the shoreline, but not before spending weeks and months churned up in the water by wave action and currents. The movement of the silt in the ocean water coats and covers the coral reefs, blocking them from sunlight. The silt covered reefs eventually die and take with them marine habitat and many sources of food and shelter. With each rain event, many tons of soil are lost from the island and poured on top of the coral reefs. Structurally the reef cannot repair itself and the protection of the island from storms is severely reduced.  Fish stocks are reduced as is the food chain for all marine and shoreline wildlife.   Silt being added to this marine ecosystem is another example of imbalance causing weakness within the ecology. Silt and other materials have always made their way into the ocean from land. The issue at present is the amount and speed at which the eroded soils are entering the ocean, beyond its capacity to transport to new areas or absorb into the system.

1.B Elements of Consideration

1.B.1 There are two main biological causes of the accelerated soil erosion silting the shoreline reefs. The first was and is the import of cattle to the island beyond its carrying capacity.  The second is Axis Deer.

1.B.1.1 Cattle

1.B.1.1.1 From the inception of grazing cattle on Molokai's West Region, the trampling, grazing, duration and numbers of stock cattle was beyond the capacity of the land to maintain plant cover and diversity. In 1920 and 1950 letters and articles were written to warn owners and government of the overgrazing and incompatibility of the cattle to the island ecology.  Even then the land managers knew of the issues with the overstocking on the island. In cattle grazing management there is a rule of thumb, 1/3 eaten, 1/3 trampled, and 1/3 left for regrowth.  This way the forage crop can replenish itself from the remaining plant stems and trampled plants become soil and mulch.  This strategy needs observation and management practices by judicious land managers.  The result being consistent forage, healthy plants, stable soil, and faster weight gain by the livestock. The resulting rotational grazing plan would move the livestock in a series of paddocks, based on the forage quality and expected regrowth. Livestock placement and limitations on the grazing areas is also important. Steep slopes and unstable hill sides must be avoided. Overgrazing these areas starts an erosion pattern that is impossible to stop, draining the highlands and making the lowlands unsuited for pasture. Large gullies extend higher on the hill, reducing usable pasture, and lower in deeper ravines as sediment covers lowland plants with mud and stone. Many times, there is no suitable grazing downhill from the initial pasture. As the problem persists, water is drained away from the land accelerating desertification and continued soil loss. Bare subsoil is eventually exposed leaving no protection from erosion.  In the West Region site assessment phase Walter Ritte and Daniel Halsey walked the many deep ravines on the north and south shoreline of Molokai. Miles of soil ruts, gullies, gulches and ravines showed an initial break in the soil base from roads. The initial erosion factor in most cases has been soil disturbance of the unmaintained access roads. Although this started the erosion pattern across the West Region, it was and is the continued soil disturbance from cattle and deer that create the run-off from the land. Cattle loosen the soil and remove the protection of plant material. Each rain moves more and more loose soil to the ravines in a slurry of grit. The slurry cuts deeper and deeper into the hillsides, loosening stones, plants, trees, and additional soil as it gains speed and volume.   Allowing the highlands and flat lands to heal is the first order of restoration. Keeping the rainfall high on the land and allowing it to infiltrate creates deeper soil moisture, water for renewed habitat, plants and trees, and fresh water to restore the aquifer. The end result being a delivery of fresh clean water to the sea and to the aquifer while restoring the natural capital of the land for continued human uses and harvest. DH  Leaving the pastures to regrow and heal will require some seeding and in areas and planting of native perennials and trees. The Highland Reclamation Plan initiates a state of ecological repair. Firstly, stabilization of the soil with plants and protection from hooved animals. Excluding all ruminant and ungulate herbivores from these areas is crucial to their restoration and revitalization. This is not to say that forage from these areas cannot be used for livestock. The harvested plant material in this area will be fed to animals held in confinement paddocks. Restricting livestock access to the damaged areas is crucial to the restoration. When plant material is at a level allowing harvest, 26 lbs. (one animal unit) can be collected by small machine or hand tools to the limit allowed in the Livestock Management Plan. Returning to these areas will be the composted manure collected from the confinement paddocks. In this way nutrients are maintained in the top soil and plant growth is enhanced. Restoration time is reduced, Soil is protected, and returning the land to economic or subsistence use is assured in a shorter time period

1.B.1.2 Axis Deer

1.B.1.2.1 The second biotic component in soil erosion is the Axis Deer, introduced to Molokai in 1868 for hunting. Within short order the deer head populated the entire Island primarily disturbing the mountains on the East Coast. Deer quickly became invasive and their high numbers threatened crops of all kinds. Efforts were made to reduce the deer from the East region of the Island using professional hunters and dogs. With this action, most of the deer migrated to the western plains of the island. To this day the majority of the deer occupy the flatter and dryer region of the West. Unoccupied spaces and areas in frequently visited by humans have been a sanctuary for the deer to multiply. Since the deer have no natural predator and seemingly unrestricted source of food, based on seasonal weather conditions, they continue to multiply and build larger and larger herds. Regardless of past management activities, the number of deer at this point is innumerable I may be headed density higher than anywhere else the planet. On the mainland deer have been counted the density of 45 per square mile in New York State and 25 per square mile Minnesota. On Molokai, the density of deer could easily double or triple that on average. One report from a professional wildlife counter found 1000 deer in a 40 acre area on Molokai. On a recent morning of hiking through Oneohilo gulch, North of the Kolo Camp, Walter and Daniel saw more than 60 deer in an area smaller than a square-mile and these are only the Deer actually observed. Obviously, only a fraction of the actual deer occupying the space.  Grazing by the deer is unregulated and boundless. There is not an area, short of rock walls on the sides of ravines, that the deer do not graze or trample. They are sure-footed and have split hooves allowing them to climb steep grades as well as a mountain goat. From observations during the site assessment, the appearance of deer tracks covered every square inch of the land. Any flat surface of bare soil was chiseled from deer. The small sharp hooves loosen the soil to small shards with every step and pulverize it to powder with the herds repeated crossing.  In areas where the cattle were removed, over 30 years ago, the green of mesquite has gradually returned as an over story plant. Beneath and between the mesquite, soil is still eroded away by the incessant pounding by hooves of Axis deer. Realistically, the deer replace any cattle removed from the landscape. Even in places where the cattle have not grazed for decades, the soil is stripped of ground cover by Axis deer.  Cattle are still an issue on central flat lands, but pale to the destruction of the deer herds in the shoreline gulches. Within the Wildlife Management Plan is the focus on managing the deer population to ensure the availability of protein to the local hunter and restore the habitat the deer are destroying. Ironically the greatest threat to the deer at this time is their numbers. The imminent collapse of the deer population could be on the horizon due to a density induced disease or starvation if a long period of drought arises. The Axis deer food source is being depleted to a deeper extent each year as less and less soil is available for plant recovery.

1.B.1.2.2 The state of deer on the Island(s) "On Maui, the second-largest Hawaiian Island, deer eradication is not biologically feasible, nor would resident hunters support the eradication of such an established and popular game animal. There, the goal is to reduce deer numbers and minimize damage to agricultural crops and ranches, and to natural areas where introduced herbivorous mammals can eliminate regeneration of native forest trees altogether (Scowcroft and Gian 1983, Hodby 1993, Hess 2008). Recreational hunting alone has proven to be an ineffective control strategy even though seasons and bag limits for deer on Maui public lands have been lifted. "By Steven C. Hess, Jake Muise, and Jan Schipper".

1.B.1.2.3 Hunting practices tending to harvest Bucks leaves Does for other bucks.  One buck can service more than 40 Does a season. Culling of the herds is inadequate to maintain healthy herds. Weight gain, resilience, and over heath is reduced for the stress of over-population and lack of quality forage.

1.B.2 Access and Roads

1.B.2.1 Access Roads Although the accumulation of domestic and wild animals to Molokai degraded the soil life and eliminated many plant and animal species, the addition of numerous access roads encouraged the deer to traverse large areas. The roads themselves became eroded channels for runoff from the highest points of the landscape. On slopes the roads would collect water and channel it to depressions where would leave the road and create gullies. Unmanaged roads then recede below grade as the road bed is washed away. Channeling increased run-off, large gullies and deep ravines stripped wider areas across the contours. Uphill gullies and ravines would meet and eventually breakdown entire hillsides. Downslope they meet and combine the ever-increasing water power, carving deep channels into the soil below. With each rain the unmanaged roadbeds sink deeper into the ground and the upland water is more quickly removed. Drought condition which would not normally appear become common. Soil moisture is drained away and ceases to infiltrate to the lower sub soil, never to recharge the aquifer.   Two repeating below-grade road bed conditions cause the erosive channeling.  1. Roads set off contour: a. drain the soil run-off downhill b. collect water making numerous gullies c. increase the water speed off the upland slope d. fuel further gullies along the roadside e. remove water from the water cycle inland. f. drain areas that would be ponds for wildlife and a water source g. cause rutting of the road in diagonal and deep channels.  h. Give deer preferred access uphill, increasing the degradation.  2. Roads set on contour: a. fill with water until sides break out to downhill slope b. drain larger upland areas across the contour c. focus the large water catchment in one gully until further gullies are created.  d. rut to one side making the road slant to one side.  The endless degraded condition of the roads is aggravated by deer herds. Herds of deer follow each other in narrow groupings. The sides and slopes of hills are loosened by the repeated hoof traffic. The roadbed sides are cut over time and water flow on or off the roads depending on the position of the road on the slope. New gullies and started and then expanded by this action. The Road Management Plan will be the first order in restoration and probably the easiest to begin. Each road type has various but standardized characteristics and treatments. This allows the appropriate response to the roads current condition and helps anticipate the cost in time and materials to repair.  The best access roads are the ones on contour and above grade. To do this the roadbed is either raised by excavating from the sides, or soil is brought from other places. In either case the rain falls off to the sides of the rounded surface. Water sheds off quickly and without eroding the gravel base. The primary road surfaces should be compressed crushed-stone or coral to create an impermeable surface. Repairs of existing roads will need to be planned by an experienced civil engineer and heavy equipment operators.   Gated access control will be used for fenced areas and protected regions of the reserve.  Access is first in the design and restoration process. Activities to repair ecological conditions must not disturb areas untouched areas. Using existing access is preferred to new roads.

1.C FIRE

1.C.1 The landscape is a tinder box of grasses, dried shrubs, and dead trees.  Without immediate attention, the fire danger and ease of spreading tp the west entire region with strong easterly winds is assured. A large fire would not only drive wildlife to the edges pf the island cliffs, but eliminate available forage. Stress on the herds would cause starvation, disease, and the loss of a food resource for Molokai families.

1.D Comment

1.D.1 Loss of Natural Resources. Increased Competition In a worst-case scenario as the habitat is reduced and plant life is diminished beyond return, the result would be catastrophic loss of Axis deer and fisheries. Reduced numbers would also impact subsistence living of the community to a point of social and economic collapse. Increased degradation of the land would continue as hunters compete for the remaining wildlife. Priorities for food would circumvent past ecological progress. Self-reliance and determination would give way to the needs of families and pressure to trade the remaining resources to developers and employment in a cash society. Staying on Molokai would depend on the willingness of some people to sell their lands and reduce the economy to tourism. The trade economy and subsistence living would cease to exist without the deer. Pressure on fisheries would increase as a result. Competition for food would expand to the sea and reefs that have been depleted by silt and continuous over fishing. The possibilities for growing crops on deplete lands will have passed and the resources to do so have been lost.  Previously held positions to defend the island autonomy could easily erode under pressure and offers from corporate raiders. Molokai is a rare place in the midst of Hawaiian business expansion and development. This is a result of continuous defense of the remaining values and principles of the Molokai people. Stonewalling every vague development plan for gentrification of the shoreline has maintained the resources for public use. In perpetuity the landscape should be a public asset for subsistence living, ecological services, wildlife habitat, and the source of fresh water in a sea of salt. With the development of the other islands and indeed the world, Molokai will become a rare space, certainly coveted by many for homesteading or commercial development. DH

2 Principles

2.A 1.The rate of use cannot exceed the rate of renewing processing or stock. 2.The amount of waste or effluent returned to a landscape cannot exceed the lands processing capacity 3.Non-renewable resources cannot be depleted before a substitute is developed. With technology or otherwise. 4.Thresholds of irreversibility are invisible.   DH                       (J.Aronson, 2007, Restoring  Natural Capital)

2.B Vehicles for Restoration

2.B.1 Strategies on all projects may include: Intervention Restoration Rehabilitation Relocation Replacement Removal Re-establishment

2.C Diversity Types

2.C.1 Alpha diversity is the diverse habitats needed within an ecosystem.  Beta Diversity is the small species adaptations within similar habitats. The same habitat services are delivered, from different sources.

3 Measurable Restoration Outcomes, Goals, and Priorities

3.A In each case, it will be important to establish a baseline measure, determine order of priority, and monitor progress

3.B 1. Reduced silt or near silt free water quality at all shoreline river outlets. 2. Increased water infiltration to provide aquifer regeneration and springs in lower elevations and in the reefs. 3. Soil stabilization in all watersheds and steep slopes.  4. Reforested and grassed slopes in restored areas for harvest and habitat. 5. Restored and healthy reefs and a larger fishery for Molokai people. 6. Access to quality and resilient natural resources. 7. Improved water quality and availability for forests and homesteads.  8. Reduced deer damage to native habitat, soils, and ecology. 9. Increased opportunity for tourism in stabilized gulches.  10. Culturally and historically modeled structures for interest and support of good practices. 11. Preparation for sea level rise and alternative commerce in changing climates. 12. Increased availability of land for an expanding population striving to be self-sufficient.

3.C Community benefits from this area will be innumerable for generation's.

3.C.1 Through well written grant proposals, Environmental Protection Agency, Carbon Sequestration Credits, and other government programs, grants and private donors fund the restoration of the islands resources. Eco tourists and eco-activist participation from the mainland will also bring revenue and needed energy for the restoration projects. Local practitioners will be trained in restoration and management for long-term harvests and expansion of associated homesteads and training centers. This land will need to be occupied by the land stewards of Molokai allowing for supported land policies for long term resiliency. Opportunities currently exist for carbon credits to fund the restoration of prairie and forests. There will be many diverse crops growing on Molokai. Sustainably managed growing systems on easements Thousands of eco-tourists, rewilders, environmental students, and restoration enthusiasts will flock to help the restoration in Molokai.  This will build both the capacity and the economy of Molokai. Although most resources should be used on the island, in years to come, the harvestable products will support the export of value added products without degrading the ecosystems, plant communities, and resources.  The largest income to the island will be the export of training of land managers and services to other islands. The entire island has the capacity to be a model ecosystem and community of sustainable practices.

3.D Environmental

3.D.1  


Preamble to Design

Ecosystems and habitat require a certain amount balance between all te elements to keep the resilience and growth supporting each palnts an animal. Systems that go out of balance and begin to weaken the connections between soils, plants, animals, that create the ecosystem.  There is always a critical balance with some flexibility that is required to keep in ecosystem running and all the components interconnected. All the elements within an ecosystem have a role to play in supplying material recycling nutrients within the system. It takes many thousands of years for these relationships to develop. Soil yourself takes many thousands of years to build on it's based material, usually stone of some nature. The only thing that keeps soil from washing away is the addition of plants. As soon as a small layer of soil is achieved, grasses and other plants we'll use it and begin taking hold of the area with their roots. As the plants emerge and die in a series of succession changes, they leave their organic material behind to be incorporated into the soil. Some plants will root into stone, Sending their roots sound narrow cracks for moisture and minerals. Over time the foliage will cover the soil and protected from the sun. This also cools the soil allowing it to hold more water. With more water, Comes more plant growth and thus a constant increase of organic material and nutrients within the soil base. Plant also protect the soil from heavy rains. Rain drops impact the soil and can cause it to become fluid and flow with gravity. Any loose soil or organic material is washed away to lower regions. Once enough volume and speed is created in the water flow it can cut through layers of soil, creating deep fissures and further erosion. In time, the seed bank within the soil can sprout and grow, holding the new soil base in place where it may have been deposited during a rainstorm. If enough time passes, an entire area can be covered with grasses and small shrubs. Without plants, soil will erode and wash away to lower elevations, leaving the hilltops and hillsides unprotected. After the topsoil has eroded away to the depths of subsoil, most of the organic material in seed bank it Is now missing. It becomes very difficult for seeds to emerge and root in the subsoil. Eventually the subsoil will also break up and he rode with the runoff filling ditches and lower elevations with sand, silk, and clay.  In the case of the shoreline around Molokai, the eroding soils are poured into the ocean. Eventually the small particles sink to the bottom of the ocean near the shoreline, but not before spending weeks and months churned up in the water by wave action and currents. The movement of the silt in the ocean water coats and covers the coral reefs, blocking them from sunlight. The silt covered reefs eventually die and take with them marine habitat and many sources of food and shelter. With each rain event, many tons of soil are lost from the island and poured on top of the coral reefs. Structurally the reef cannot repair itself and the protection of the island from storms is severly reduced.  Fish stocks are reduced as is the food chain for all marine and shoreline wildlife.   Silt being added to this marine ecosystem is another example of in balance causing weakness within the ecosystem. Silt and other materials have always made their way into the ocean from land. The issue at present is the amount and speed at which the eroded soils are entering the ocean, beyond its capacity to transport to new areas or absorb into the system.

1.A.2 Decrease

1.A.2.1 Deer damage to habitat

1.A.2.2 Soil Loss

1.A.2.3 Water loss in ravines

1.A.2.4 Human Damage to Habitat

1.A.3 Increase

1.A.3.1 Aquifer Capacity

1.A.3.2 Soil Moisture

1.A.3.3 Forest and Crop Lands

1.A.3.4 Sustained Land Resources

1.A.3.5 Marine Habitat Quality

1.A.3.6 Social

1.A.3.6.1 Community Potential

1.A.3.6.2 Self Reliance

1.A.3.7 Harvestable Resource Resilience

1.A.4 Prologue

1.A.5 Citations

1.B Watershed Goals

1.C Skills

1.D Honor

1.D.1 Kuleana

1.D.2 Aloha Aina

1 Components for Restoration

1.A Roads

1.A.1 Although the accumulation of domestic and wild animals to Molokai degraded the soil life and eliminated many plant and animal species, the addition of numerous access roads encouraged the deer to traverse large areas. The roads themselves became eroded channels for runoff from the highest points of the landscape. On slopes the roads would collect water and channel it to depressions where would leave the road and create gullies. Unmanaged roads then recede below grade as the road bed is washed away. Channeling increased run-off, large gullies and deep ravines stripped wider areas across the contours. Uphill gullies and ravines would meet and eventually breakdown entire hillsides. Downslope they meet and combine the ever-increasing water power, carving deep channels into the soil below. With each rain the unmanaged roadbeds sink deeper into the ground and the upland water is more quickly removed. Drought condition which would not normally appear become common. Soil moisture is drained away and ceases to infiltrate to the lower sub soil, never to recharge the aquifer.

1.A.2 Two repeating below-grade road bed conditions cause the erosive channeling.

1.A.2.1 Roads set off contour:

1.A.2.1.1 a. drain the soil run-off downhill b. collect water making numerous gullies c. increase the water speed off the upland slope d. fuel further gullies along the roadside e. remove water from the water cycle inland. f. drain areas that would be ponds for wildlife and a water source g. cause rutting of the road in diagonal and deep channels.  h. Give deer preferred access uphill, increasing the degradation.

1.A.2.2 Roads set on contour:

1.A.2.2.1  

 

1.A.2.2.2 a. fill with water until sides break out to downhill slope b. drain larger upland areas across the contour c. focus the large water catchment in one gully until further gullies are created.  d. rut to one side making the road slant to one side until impassable.

1.A.3 The endless degraded condition of the roads is aggravated by deer herds. Herds of deer follow each other in narrow groupings. The sides and slopes of hills are loosened by the repeated hoof traffic. The roadbed sides are cut over time and water flow on or off the roads depending on the position of the road on the slope. New gullies and started and then expanded by this action. The Road Management Plan will be the first order in restoration and probably the easiest to begin. Each road type has various but standardized characteristics and treatments. This allows the appropriate response to the roads current condition and helps anticipate the cost in time and materials to repair.

1.A.4 The best access roads are the ones on contour and above grade. To do this the roadbed is either raised by excavating from the sides, or soil is brought from other places. In either case the rain falls off to the sides of the rounded surface. Water sheds off quickly and without eroding the gravel base. The primary road surfaces should be compressed crushed-stone or coral to create an impermeable surface. Repairs of existing roads will need to be planned by an experienced civil engineer and heavy equipment operators.   Gated access control will be used for fenced areas and protected regions of the reserve.  Access is first in the design and restoration process. Activities to repair ecological conditions must not disturb areas untouched areas. Using existing access is preferred to new roads.

1.A.4.1  

 

1.A.5 Road management Plan

1.A.5.1 Road Management and Maintenance Plan   Although unforeseen needs for additional roads may appear, existing access roads seem to cover all areas at this time. Guidelines and management practices for maintaining roads for future stability, accessibility, and decreased soil and water loss is paramount. This guide will set standards for all facets of road structure, restoration, and repair,

1.B Grading Upland Soils

1.B.1 The topography, aspect, and soil strata of the West Region lands are considered in each step of restoration. With the treatments of roads, wildlife and livestock, the soil may need to be sculpted to repair deep ruts or run-off issues. Basins for long term infiltration are an opportunity on shallow hillsides and flat lands. Swales may be cut to catch water high on slopes or divert water from ravines. In each case, grading the soil will be needed to ensure uniformity in directing the run-off in a controlled fashion.  In any case the soil will need to be prepared prior to repair or replanting.

1.C Comment

1.C.1 The intensity of any restoration treatment will be site specific and tailored to the conditions involved. Each section to be restored will have subsections and targeted actions in the restoration solution. The granularity of the details differs greatly with each implementation. On-site adjustments and changes will be expected.  Careful consideration is made for long term effects of each action, with anticipated milestones projected for measuring success. DH

1.D Shoreline

1.D.1 Fish Ponds

1.D.1.1  

 

1.D.1.2 One of Molokai's most precious and sustained practices for self-sufficient food sources is the traditional Fish Pond system.  At present 1/3rd of the community food budget is reliant on subsistence fishing. Developed over 600 years ago by the Polynesian settlers to the Hawaiian Islands, the walled and gated shoreline fishponds have provided food for a nation having few other sources of protein.  Each pond is fed by a series of underwater springs or fresh water streams that mix with the salt water making a brackish water that attracts fingerling fish. Small fish looking to feed move into the pond and grow, eating shoreline plants. Once the grown fish are moved to leave the pond they are trapped at the entrance where they are selected for harvesting or return to the pond. It is a system that has worked flawlessly with periodic cleaning and maintenance of the pond walls. With increased land disturbance the fish ponds are continually at risk from sediment. The Keawa Nui Fish Pond is far east of the present assessment area; however it is a suffering from the same erosion issues and can benefit from suggested west region restoration practices as a model for other fish pond treatments.

 

1.D.2 Reefs

1.D.2.1 In 2007 an extensive study of the reef system was published by the USGS.

1.D.2.1.1 Although government programs have been developed to repair and improve the fish pond system to increase productivity, no progress has been made to sustain the ponds in working order. Many remain in disrepair, inundated with silt, or covered with Mangrove. In 2007 a USGS report of the Coral Reefs included data and studies of the fish ponds on the south shore. In 2007, Thomas Goreau, PhD. Reef Expert from Harvard (good friend of the author), suggested vetiver for erosion control of upland soils. State officials rebuffed any attempt to protect the reefs, calling them resilient to sedimentation.   Fisheries and fishing practices and policies are not part of this report.

1.D.2.2 One of the most serious dangers to coral reefs is sedimentation. This threat is dramatically illustrated in Hawaii. With the arrival of Westerners, upland soil was plowed for sugar cane and pineapple. The impact of the resulting erosion has been tragic. Since 1897 the shoreline of Molokai has advanced as much as a mile and a quarter across the reef flat. Elsewhere off Molokai, the reef is overlaid with four to 27 inches of red-brown silt. (Cousteau, 1985, p. 191)

1.E Ravines and Hillsides

1 West Region Land Use

1.A Very large protected areas are probably not attainable because of sociological and financial constraints. However, ecotourism, based as it is natural capital, could be a means of generating wealth in a sustainable way from the areas accessible and could be a vital part of any conservation initiative in the western regional Molokai. The restoration process would also be a tourist opportunity as many people are looking for projects to support on rebuilding the planets resource base.

1.B Questions and Approaches to Restore Molokai Natural Capital

1.B.1 Given that the natural capital of the Molokai is in need of restoration, should we aim at preventing soil loss in eroded drainage systems, regenerate perennial springs and the aquifer, or should we focus on repairing rangelands? Are these competing goals? Should rangeland capital be restored to support large wild herbivores, or to provide the maximum sustainable yield for people living on the land (Danckwert and King 1984)?  Which restoration targets are ecologically, economically, and socially realistic for Molokai?  Pertinent to setting restoration objectives is a decrease in the profitability of livestock ranching, which has led to diversification of rangeland use, including game farming, nature tourism, and hunting (Barnes 2001; Khuzwayo 2002; Goodman el al. 2002).

1.C The Ideal Natural Capital Restoration

1.C.1 Given the extremely large land sizes required to be able to revitalize ecological processes to some degree in Molokai, it is clear that any landscape-level restoration plan would need to be the result of cooperation between the state, community, and private landowners and that multiple land uses would need to be entertained to ensure both profitability and sustainability. Lessons from international experiences in formulating approaches for restoration of natural capital, such as the proposed Buffalo Commons scheme for America's Great Plains (Popper and Popper 1987), can also be applied in a useful way.   However, the almost irreversible losses of processes such as invasive and large herbivore relationships, disrupted water, and flooding regime (Acocks 1964) make restoration in the strict sense almost impossible. The most practical goal may be to aim at restoration of natural capital compatible with modern land use concerns, although restoration of some ecological processes may be entirely possible. First, it is essential to prevent further degradation of the west region rangeland due to overgrazing and unmanaged deer, and to develop new initiatives for using the land profitably and in an environmentally sensitive way (Milton ct al. 2003).

1.D Conservation Farming

1.D.1 Conservation Farming: This aims to maintain the balance between utilization and conservation of farm-based resources (Donaldson 2002) to secure Bows of ecosystem goods and services that are linked to biodiversity. General impressions and opinions not supported in the main by hard data are that as a result of conservation farming there has been an improvement in rangelands indicated by increased cover of usable forage plants (Donaldson 2002). Conservation farming requires little additional cost, and most important, draws the attention of the land user to key elements in the ecosystem and its processes.  This land use is for employment, subsistence farming, and development of high value crops for local use in tourism, island export, and restoration nursery plants.

1.D.2 Subtopic

1.E Conservancies and Restoration Education

1.E.1 Conservancies and Restoration Education: Conservation initiatives in the West Region of Molokai include consortiums of lands that are publicly and privately owned, but strongly linked to local nature conservation strategies. Conservancies are the most successful option for resident landowners that are affected by common resource issues (Botha 200I). Under the constitution of the conservancy, member land owners pledge to protect natural resources as far as possible, while they continue to utilize rangelands for tourism, forest farming, and habitat management. Conservancy landowners encourage research on ecological aspects of the conservancy and usually undertake to protect wildlife and increase diverse habitat. Organized trainings and project management improves these lands through trials, education, and development of better practices.

1.E.2 Wildlife Management Human-wildlife conflict is one of the major threats to wildlife conservation. Conservancies help maintain a balanced ecosystem through the protection and management of both the human population and wildlife. Conservancies also help to maintain healthy wildlife populations and ensure there is increase in numbers and diversity of species. Enterprise Development Conservancies need to provide alternative income generating opportunities in order to be financially sustainable. These initiatives work equally to leverage support for conservation from the communities that live around them to proactively take part in the county's wildlife conservation efforts. These enterprises eventually end up improving the community livelihoods and the conservancy itself. Livestock Management Conservancies occupy expansive landscapes with ecosystems that support both herds of domesticated animals and wildlife as well. Conservancies play a vital role in managing the livestock to minimize the impact on the environment while ensuring co-existence with wildlife. For this to happen, there is need to: implement grazing management to improve the condition of rangelands and avoid overgrazing; develop markets for livestock to maximize income from livestock; accumulate revenue from grazing fees on land owned by private conservancies; purchase of community livestock through the use of a revolving fund where profits from the sales generate revenue for the conservancy, slaughter and sale of livestock products. Community Development Conservancies endorse community support for conservation and participation in decision making to ensure equitable sharing of benefits and improve community access to services such as health, water and education, while supplementing government services. It is imperative to leverage the support from the community so as to create tangible benefits from conservation and to change attitudes and behavior of communities towards wildlife. Tourism Wildlife is the basis of Kenya's thriving safari tourism. Tourism in Kenya is one of the largest sources of foreign exchange revenue. Conservancies promote diverse forms of tourism which generate income to support conservancy operating costs and improve livelihoods of communities. Land and Natural Resources Management Conservancies serve to promote healthy ecosystems that support wildlife, livestock and human needs. They also improve the conditions of degraded areas and minimize invasive species; to ensure adequate supply of water for wildlife, people and livestock. Conservancies are tasked with the vital role of ensuring proper management of land and the resources upon which wildlife and people depend on. Peace and Security Conservancies seek to promote peace with neighboring communities as a foundation for economic development and effective planning and management of natural resources. Conservancy Scouts are responsible for providing security for residents and visitors to the conservancy. In areas where inter-tribal conflict is prevalent, usually involving livestock theft, conservancy scouts are actively involved in following up and recovering stolen livestock in collaboration with the Kenya Police. It is the responsibility of the conservancy to ensure scouts also provide security for tourism facilities as well as the visitor's safety. Infrastructural Development Conservancies invest in infrastructure and equipment to facilitate effective conservancy operations, to support tourism as well as to improve access to transport for community members.

1.E.3 Conservancy Core Values

1.E.3.1 Authentic Voice?As the representative voice of the wildlife conservancy movement in Molokai. Commitment?We are devoted to building a Molokai where people and wildlife live and thrive in a mutually-beneficial coexistence. Integrity?We serve with honor, championing the cause of conservancies in Aina and approaching our partnerships with both internal and external stakeholders with utmost transparency and respect Innovative?We are continuously searching for more efficient and effective ways to better our programs and support to our citizen conservancies. Partnerships?As a nation-wide association, our impact is strongly hinged on partnerships with likeminded individuals and organizations. We therefore treasure our role of uniting conservancies across the country and being the bridge that links conservancies with the government.

1.E.4 When most people think of conservancies they think of wildlife conservation. Though this is certainly a key objective, conservancies are about much more than wildlife. They serve various economical, ecological and social roles in the community and the nation at large.  This is a proposed structure for land use and resident benefits while restructuring the ecological services for land improvement. It is edited from a research paper inserting local terms and places.  There may be subsets and other types to be discovered.

1.F Subsistence Preserve

1.F.1 Subsistence Preserve: Subsistence preserve properties promote ecotourism and cultural heritage in many parts of the west region, often proving more profitable than stock farming in arid and semiarid areas. The effects of wild mammalian herbivores at moderate densities are generally considered to be less deleterious to the shrubland vegetation of the west region than the effects of domestic livestock (Davies et al. 1986; Davies and Skinner 1986). ). Expert opinion to evaluate habitat condition and advice on species and numbers of small herd livestock are fundamental in setting up a subsistence farming operation. Management practices must be maintained at a high level of observation and data collection by the land managers.   Building the carrying capacity for each of these uses will vary.

1.F.2 Residential and Commercial

1.F.2.1 Land use of the West region of Molokai is precarious and culturally charged. Once the land is in control of a new owner, or as a publicly owed parcel, immediate and well organized action must be taken by the new owner to coordinate with the citizens of Molokai and develop understandings and guidance to land-use.

1.F.2.2 Within the proposed use of the land must be designated areas and agreed understanding for their occupation. As above, each member of the land association must commit to a certain set up management practices. It is suggested by the report author that each type of land-use be part of a larger association. Commercial business Association, residential homeowners Association, and limitations of development based upon agreed Aloha Aina.

1.F.2.3 It is suggested here that none of the land be sold into a private holding at anytime. All lands must remain in the public trust and use long-term leases to residents and business owners.

2 Solutions

2.A Earthworks

2.A.1 Dam Types

2.B Plants

2.B.1 The disappearance of native plants from the landscape is well documented. Native plants have been replaced and outcompeted by important and invasive species. Livestock and grazing wildlife have also preferred native plants for forage causing the plants to disappear by a competitive exclusion. When the foraging herbivores prefer one species over another, the lesser eat and species spreads and takes over the landscape. Serious consideration is made for plant species included in each project. Native species will be preferable to non-native species. Naturalized and non-invasive species may be used to deliver a specific ecological function in the restoration process.   _ Long term plant species will consist primarily of native species over time. In each project a list of suitable plants will be assembled for building the multilevel ecology. Whenever possible, trees will be used as the final overstory, although at time shrubs may be better suited to the site, function needed, and/or soil conditions.  Ecological functions will be needed from many plant species to deliver the needed services. Each function delivered by multiple species Sourcing plant material is done through local resources, growers, and nurseries. An on-site nursery will supply the majority of plants once established or augment the purchased plants.  Multiple nursery areas are established in each zone where access to water and transportation corridors are easily arranged. Sustainable growing spaces using horticultural practices to grow each plant type will take time and the growing out of plugs, seedlings, and seeded trays. Each area is secured and consists of high tunnel shade cloth growing spaces, mimicking the site conditions involved.  Thousands of each species will need to be started and planted to ensure a good number of mature plants in coming years. Dense planting and thinning will allow for dispersion of larger plants in areas needed. Excess plant material is used for mulch and soil development programs.  Plants are the key player in all situations on restoration. Any combination of grass, forb shrub, and tree will be needed to hold the soil and begin the reclamation process of the land. Only the plats can heal the damage and repair the ecological services.

2.C Comment

2.C.1 It would seem imperative to use plant material in restoration projects. Adding new or existing species to the landscape is a way to raise carrying capacity, ecological diversity, habitat, and resilience. The time to install plant material is after the soil and abiotic structure of the land has been repaired.  In that process, the rebuilding or soil structure, catchment dams, and swales can reinvigorate the existing seed bank. Work by Fred Richardson in Kohoolawe, 1995-96 (Figures 3 – 4) shows evidence that the seed bank in ravines was able to initiate soil stabilizing plant material within one year. From this comes a new paradigm of abiotic and structural watershed repair as a priority prior to any other work. DH

2.D Water

2.E Animals

2.E.1 Fencing Types

2.F Disruptive Innovation

2.F.1 As solutions come forward to solve complex problems, some may be disruptive to the common reasoning offered presently or in the past. Word processors made typewriters obsolete. Old practices and traditions may need to make way for better practices and new traditions. While devising the solutions for ecosystem restoration, the status quo may be threatened as will be positions of power, stature, and wealth. Traditional equipment and skills may become less required with new ones developed and taught.  The innovation of this generation must not be restrained by the waning conditions of the past. These are complex adaptive systems like nature, weather, and wildlife which may respond in unexpected ways. We can try to manage them, but we will have to adapt as things change and nature responds, sometimes contrary to what is expected or understood from historical patterns.  In some cases, the projects implemented will rehabilitate existing systems to a functional state versus a previous state of full recovery.  Sometimes restoring a system to a historically stable state is not possible, but a functional state can be achieved to deliver ecosystem services. Within this strategy, a trajectory to a previous state of full capacity may be achieved in time. Relocation of existing systems like habitat, wildlife, may be needed to create or sustain new ecological spaces. Either the site is used to provide an ecosystem service, or the service is delivered from a number of sites. At times a specific area will need restoration for its own viability, but services will most likely be delivered from several areas through diverse ecosystems.

2.G Habitat

2.H Management

2.H.1 Livestock Management Plan

2.H.2 Wildlife Management Plan

2.H.3 Watershed Restoration Plan

2.H.4 Economic Development Plan

2.H.5 Involvement

2.H.6 Use

2.I Reforestation

3 Initial Project Sites

3.A Maunaloa  Mountain


Design projects have expanded and taken the lead in our focus. SouthWoods participates in practicum training where invited and has foregone courses on-site. Video Presentations:  Ecological Design Strategy, Following Natures Patterns, Exceptions to our Understanding, Competitive Exclusion, Companion and Nurse Plants, managing disturbance, groundcovers, Micro-climates and Mushrooms, Banker Plants, Tasty Ground Covers, Plant Systems, Micro-Climate Peaches.