Monsanto’s Maui employees help clear non-native pines

In December, Monsanto’s Maui employees supported of The Nature Conservancy of Hawai`i in an effort to preserve the island’s natural heritage.

Contributing $250 in grant funds and more than 20 hours of manpower assistance, Monsanto employees and family members cleared nearly 2,500 non-native pines in a six-acre area of threatened shrub habitat in the Waikamoi Preserve.

Many of the removed pines were potted, ready to be decorated, and given to family and friends a living gift in the spirit of the holidays.

This is the second community service project that Monsanto employees and their families have participated in with The Nature Conservancy. In February 2012, volunteers spent more than 80 hours removing invasive plant species to help restore over an acre of dense native rainforest. At that time, they also contributed $1,000 in grant funds to the project.

According to The Nature Conservancy, if left unchecked, the fragile ecosystem at Waikamoi would have been overtaken by the non-native pine, threatening the preserve’s rare dry mamane sub-alpine shrub land, found only in East Maui and on the Big Island. This is also a strategic location to stop the pines from invading Haleakala National Park.

“We really appreciate the support from Monsanto and their employees,” said Pat Bily, invasive plant specialist for The Nature Conservancy Maui Program.

Waikamoi Preserve on Maui is an important sanctuary for hundreds of native plants and animals. Its high-elevation rain forest and alpine shrub land are home to 12 different native bird species, seven of them endangered, as well as plants like the Haleakala silversword.

The Nature Conservancy of Hawai’i is dedicated to helping to protect this fragile ecosystem by managing the invasive weeds and animals that threaten their survival.