Letters for June 19, 2015

• Kokee can help feed Kauai

Kokee can help feed Kauai

The Department of Forestry is completing the removal of all those dead trees in the upland areas approaching Koke’e, results of several wildfires in 2012.

Funding for this project was provided by an Emergency Proclamation by Governor Abercrombie. All those logs are being hauled to the new Green Energy biomass plant, to be used to create energy for Kauai.

This clearing project was clearly a daunting but necessary task to address several real concerns these fires created, including assuring public safety, mitigating flash flood potential and removing flash flood hazards, and watershed/habitat preservation.

Replanting is the next step in this program. In addition to planting native and non-native trees for eventual harvest as lumber, I would really also like to see fruit trees that thrive in those temperate climates planted on those thousands of acres. This harkens back to the “old days” of Koke’e plum picking and purple lilikoi harvests.

Yes, there are challenges with implementing this idea. For instance, pigs love fruit so we will be feeding the wild pigs, potentially increasing their destructive digging and rooting.

Maybe some fenced areas could protect a few “wildland fruit and nut orchards,” as they have done elsewhere to protect endangered habitats and species. Here’s the thing, food security is a real concern on Kauai, and this could absolutely be part of the solution to feeding this island. The opportunity to “make lemonade” (actually lemons) for current and future generations is here and now.

Erik Coopersmith, Kapaa

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