This is our Hawaii blog post in celebration of Earth Day.
Our company Double Brush is located at our artistic art studio home in the middle of a natural Ohia rainforest on the Big Island of Hawaii. When we had the opportunity to build our home in 1994, we carefully planned how to situate our driveway and house, in order to save the most amount of trees. For months my husband and I cut down Ohia trees with a hand saw and chain saw and carried them off to the side to decompose and return back to the earth. This way the bull dozer service we hired only had to doze our driveway and house pad as we only wanted to clear what was absolutely necessary.
After our house was built, we landscaped around our house utilizing the natural landscape and topography. We cleared by hand the invasive bushes and weeds so the native Hapu'u ferns and Ohia trees could have more room to stretch out and grow. The trees on our property are home to hundreds of birds including the native Hawaiian Hawk (I'o) and native Hawaiian owl (Pueo).
We live in the district of Puna in East Hawaii Island, and many of the land parcels out here are 1-3 acres. Many, many people (especially developers and speculators), in the last few years will buy a piece of property and completely bull doze the land flat as a pancake, so it is void of any of the natural endemic trees, plants and terrain. This is called "clear cutting" which some believe is a cost effective way to prepare for construction. Clear cutting is dangerous as it can also have another negative impact of altering water drainage patterns.
I wouldn't have a problem with this if trees were not so damn important. I feel if you don't like the forest, don't move to the forest just to cut it down. There are many unforested areas that people can move to. If everyone who had the choice to destroy all of the trees on their property did, our area would turn into a dry, hot, arid desert and then people would get worried but by then it would be too late, it takes a long time to grow a mature forest.
It is our native forest that attracts clouds and moisture to the area, and brings the rains that nourishes the native plant and animal wild life, waters our farmer's crops that produce our food, helps maintain our climate, and replenishes our water shed. Living in nature and with nature also communes with your soul by giving you a deeper connection to and respect for the earth.
The ancient Hawaiian people of Puna understood the relationship of the Ohia tree forest and rain when they named an area "Wao Kele o Puna" or the rain belt of Puna.