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2012 Koa Symposium

“Growing Koa in Hawai‘i Nei” Symposium 2012

November 16th & 17th, 2012
Kilauea Military Camp (KMC), Ohia Room, Volcano, HI
Keauhou Ranch, Ka‘ū, HI

Key Note Speaker Dr. Charles Michler, Director
Tropical Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center

As Director of Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center (HTIRC), Dr. Michler leads the strategic planning for hardwood research and development of 9 principal scientists.  HTIRC, with staff totaling over 58 Forest Service and Purdue employees (18 permanent, 25 graduate students, 3 post-docs, and 12 temporary) and an annual budget of over $5.5 M, of which $1.4 M is base operating, has been publishing over 90 papers (basic, applied and extension) a year.  Currently, Dr. Michler is Site Director of the National Science Foundation Industry University Cooperative Research Center, Center for Advanced Forestry Systems.  Over Dr. Michler’s career, he has produced over 184 publications, ranging from refereed papers, proceedings, and popular articles to reports.  He has shared in grants over $5.8 M, of which over $2.8 M went towards his personal research.  Dr. Michler has been instrumental in procuring on Purdue’s behalf four endowments totaling $39.8 M. Dr. Charles Michler Bio


Over 110 participants attended the “Growing Koa in Hawai‘i Nei” Symposium on November 16th and over 40 of these landowners, foresters, students and others interested in growing koa participated in the tour of Keauhou Ranch the following day. Master of Ceremonies Paul Scowcroft, Research Forester with Pacific Southwest Research Station Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry did a fantastic job of facilitating the talks and Tom Baribault with Forest Solutions ensured all the electronics ran smoothly.  Brad White with Big Island Video recorded the talks and is creating a video incorporating the Power Point presentations. Results of the koa mapping and goal setting exercises along with the video will be posted on this page after the first of the year.

In addition to the presentations, attendees viewed koa displays and took away educational handouts. The Young-Growth Koa Wood Display was a big hit with attendees.  HFIA teamed up with the US Forest Service and University of Hawai‘i to implement the Young-Growth Koa Wood Quality Assessment and Demonstration project.  To address questions about the viability of young-growth koa in existing koa wood product markets, a study was conducted in which 10 young-growth koa trees were harvested at three locations on the Island of Hawai‘i.  Six HFIA member woodworkers are creating pieces from the young-growth koa wood, many of which were displayed at the Symposium.  The learn more about the study, viist the Young-Growth Koa Wood Webpage.

Topics and Speaker Presentations:

Panel Discussions:

Harvesting and Marketing Panel
All Koa Lumber Has Value by Jay Warner, Owner/Operator, Awapuhi Farms and Mill;
Harvesting and Marketing Young Second-growth Koa by J. B. Friday, UH Extension Forester;
Current Koa Markets and Future Predictions by Jorma Winkler, Owner, JACY Inc.; and.
• Marketing and Selling the Finished Product by Tai Lake, President HFIA and Tai Lake Fine Woodworking.

Symposium Program

Symposium Sponsors

Koa Tree Sponsors
Koa Seedling Sponsors
Awapuhi Farms & Mill

Koa Seed Sponsors
Department of Hawaiian Home Lands
Hawaii Forest & Trail
Heather and Peter Simmons

Koa Symposium Committee Members
Mike Robinson (Chair): Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, HFIA, HFI
Peter Simmons: In the Woods HFIA, HFI
Travis Idol: UH Department of Agronomy & Soil Science, HFI
Nick Koch: Forest Solutions, HFIA
J.B. Friday: UH College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, HFI
Sheri Mann: DLNR Division of Forestry & Wildlife
Kama Dancil: Kamehameha Schools
Cheyenne Perry: Mauna Kea Watershed Alliance
Michael Constantinides: Natural Resources Conservation Service
Paul Scowcroft: US Forest Service
Orlo Steele: Hawaii Community College Forest Team
Julie Gaertner: HFIA Koa Symposium Student Intern
Heather Simmons: HFIA, HFI


Keauhou Ranch Tour

The tour was led by Kama Dancil, Kamehameha Schools; J.B. Friday, UH Extension Service; and Nick Koch and Thomas Baribault, Forest Solutions. The tour, which was attended by 45 people included the following stops:
1. 1987 koa stand (thinning trial)
2. 1978 koa stand (crop tree thinning)
3. Lunch Stop (7 yr. and younger koa plantation)
4. Spacing trial
5. 3 to 6 yr. old koa plantation

Keauhou Ranch is a located in Keauhou, Ka‘ū on Hawai‘i Island. Kamehameha Schools’ koa reforestation program at Keauhou Ranch is a good example of large-scale forest restoration.  Kamehameha Schools is a private foundation dedicated to funding education for Hawaiian students. Their lands are used both for income generation and as outdoor classrooms for their students.  Acacia koa is the largest tree in the Hawaiian forest and one of the most valuable timbers in the world.  Currently koa stumpage ranges from $2,000 to $5,000 per mbf, and select koa lumber sells between $4.00 and $5.00 per bf.  The koa forest is the habitat for a number of endangered birds and plants.  Koa wood has historically been undervalued, however, and large areas that were once koa forest were cleared for ranching in the past two centuries.  At Keauhou Ranch, Kamehameha Schools began setting aside portions of the land for reforestation in the late 1970s.
Source: Excerpt of presentation by J. B. Friday at

Dr. Wang, Hainan University in China stands next to a 30 year old koa at the Keauhou Reforestation Area. Photo by J.B. Friday.

Dr. Wang, Hainan University in China stands next to a 30 year old koa tree in the Keauhou Reforestation Area. Photo by J.B. Friday.

Symposium Photos (Talks and Tour)

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