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Competition higlights native species nationwide

HONOLULU — The Hawai‘i Big Tree Competition is now open for nominations, a competition that urges people to get outdoors and capture photos of the state’s native species.

Up for grabs is a national title, as the competition is part of the Big Tree Competition, sponsored by both the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife and nonprofit organization American Forests.

The competition aims to spotlight the largest trees of native species recognized in the registry, as well as raise awareness about the importance of healthy trees and forests.

This year, the National Register of Big Trees represents 679 species across 45 states and the District of Columbia. Currently, the American Forests database identifies 21 tree species in Hawai‘i, 13 of which are endemic to the islands.

“While we continue to find new champions for the database yearly, we still have not crowned a champion for every recognized tree,” states a DOFAW press release. “The community is invited to find new champion trees for undiscovered species as well as existing species.”

Three elusive trees­ — the a‘e, Koki‘o ‘ula and Wauke — have yet to be crowned in the Hawai‘i Big Tree Competition. If nominated, one of these trees could likely be crowned a national champion.

To replace a current champion, the challenger tree must have more total points. Points are calculated using trunk circumference in inches, and height and crown spread in feet.

To nominate a tree, contact Hawai‘i Big Tree Coordinator Brayden Aki at 808-587-0164, or email: fw.adm1.ekahi.intern@hawaii.gov and provide the tree height, trunk circumference and average crown spread, in addition to the tree’s specific location (GPS coordinates are appreciated).

The deadline for entry is May 31.
Source: The Garden Island

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