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Jerryc41
06-07-2018, 02:41 AM
I've read conflicting things about using the wood from koa trees. On the one hand, they say that koa trees cannot be cut down. Builders can only use trees that have dropped to the ground for some natural reason.

On the other hand, I've read stories about people planting thousands of koa trees. This includes Joe Suoza of Kanile'a who has planted hundreds of koa trees for use in future ukuleles. Maybe you can cut down a koa if you planted it yourself? So, what's the story?

109554

maki66
06-07-2018, 03:14 AM
http://hawaiiforest.org/index.php/article/investing_in_koa_forest_plantations

Jerryc41
06-07-2018, 04:22 AM
http://hawaiiforest.org/index.php/article/investing_in_koa_forest_plantations

Thanks. Interesting.

merlin666
06-07-2018, 06:46 AM
Indeed I find the question of Koa supply interesting. It looks like most ukulele builders have moved to two-piece backs and sides even for soprano size due to dwindling supply of large trees. So I am always surprised at the large number of Koa guitars using much larger pieces of wood that are churned out by Taylor. They all have a funny brown colour too.

mmfitzsimons
06-07-2018, 07:16 AM
Great link.

They make koa canoes?

Good lord this is triggering some kind of weird expansion of my UAS to canoes....

Jerryc41
06-07-2018, 09:51 AM
Great link.

They make koa canoes?

Good lord this is triggering some kind of weird expansion of my UAS to canoes....

The choice of strings would be critical! ;)

bacchettadavid
06-07-2018, 10:39 AM
Not to mention stringers...

I'll see myself out.

bacchettadavid
06-07-2018, 10:40 AM
http://hawaiiforest.org/index.php/article/investing_in_koa_forest_plantations

Interesting article. Thanks for sharing.

bkrownd
06-07-2018, 03:22 PM
Koa is one of the most abundant trees in Hawaii, and is one of our 3 native canopy trees. However, most of those trees are in protected wilderness areas now, and ranching interests control a lot of the rest of the land where koa does well. For those two reasons there is a pinch in the lumber supply of even such an abundant tree. For a long time the ranches harvested (or poached) koa, but not as much anymore. If you run a bulldozer across a cattle pasture tens of thousands of koa will pop up. There is some former ranch pasture and former sugar plantation land being converted to timber plantations, and some of that is for koa. But, you have to own or lease the land to harvest trees from it.

Jerryc41
06-08-2018, 01:14 AM
https://www.nature.com/news/tree-hitched-a-ride-to-island-1.15419

Another interesting article about Koa, note that the timescales are geological not human.

Amazing! As for geological time, humans are impatient, and they want to see changes within days. : )

13down
06-08-2018, 04:56 AM
One thing I'm curious about - perhaps an ecologist, geologist, or someone who just knows a lot about Hawaii can chime in - is how Acacia Koa trees affect the soil of Hawaii. I wonder if maybe there's a reason that, even though they're very abundant, it might be dangerous to the overall ecosystem to cut down too many at once.

Brad Bordessa
06-08-2018, 11:34 AM
One thing I'm curious about - perhaps an ecologist, geologist, or someone who just knows a lot about Hawaii can chime in - is how Acacia Koa trees affect the soil of Hawaii. I wonder if maybe there's a reason that, even though they're very abundant, it might be dangerous to the overall ecosystem to cut down too many at once.

All the pasture land above Hamakua used to be native forest. Now most of the streams this side of O'okala are dry except in heavy rain (O'okala is where there is some upland native forest left). The birds have less room to roam. The land erodes easier... It would be quite a different place if we still had all of our native forests (90% of which are gone).

Cutting down trees all at once seems like a pretty bad idea anywhere in the world. Fortunately, it seems like the days of clear cutting Hawai'i are over and the folks running the koa lumber operations are following a more sustainable trend.

mmfitzsimons
06-08-2018, 01:05 PM
This is a fascinating thread, I just wanted to thank OP and all those adding into to it.

bkrownd
06-08-2018, 04:08 PM
One thing I'm curious about - perhaps an ecologist, geologist, or someone who just knows a lot about Hawaii can chime in - is how Acacia Koa trees affect the soil of Hawaii. I wonder if maybe there's a reason that, even though they're very abundant, it might be dangerous to the overall ecosystem to cut down too many at once.

If you're talking about trees in the wilderness, cutting down the trees in the forest would destroy secondary native tree species and destroy the delicate forest understory which is home to rare and endangered species, as well as removing the habitat that the tree itself provides to birds and insects. Everything living around the cut tree would be destroyed, and whereever the mechanical equipment and humans tread to access it would be destroyed. Logging would also introduce and promote aggressive alien weeds and cause terrible erosion and soil damage.

If you're talking about trees in a timber plantation, they are usually already cattle pastures dominated by thick alien grass. There may be birds and insects living in the trees, though. Koas also harvest water from mist in the air, dripping it down to the soil and shading the ground, and release moisture into the air when it is dry, so they are an important part of the water cycle. Trees also prevent erosion. Harvesting modest numbers annually in a timber plantation might not have any great effect since there is only a mat of pasture grass underneath which is probably going to survive the harvesting operation.

Jerryc41
06-09-2018, 01:37 AM
Koas also harvest water from mist in the air, dripping it down to the soil and shading the ground, and release moisture into the air when it is dry, so they are an important part of the water cycle. Trees also prevent erosion. Harvesting modest numbers annually in a timber plantation might not have any great effect since there is only a mat of pasture grass underneath which is probably going to survive the harvesting operation.

And people continue to think they're smarter than Nature, and look at the result.