THE BIRTH OF HAWAIIAN FORESTRY: THE WEB OF INFLUENCES
Thomas R. Cox
Professor of History
San Diego State University
San Diego, Calif., 92119, USA
for presentation at
Not to be reprinted, quoted, or reproduced without the author's permission.
Thomas R. Cox
Forestry in Hawaii began with Gifford Pinchot. Or so Ralph S. Hosmer - Hawaii's first Territorial Forester and a Pinchot protégé, argued. According to Hosmer’s account, the Hawaiian Sugar Planter's Association, concerned that deforestation was endangering watersheds essential for irrigating the plantations of its members, in 1903 persuaded Hawaii's legislature to pass a bill creating a Board of Commissioners of Agriculture and Forestry and calling for the employment of a professional forester to head a Division of Forestry within it. Governor Sanford B. Dole named Lorrin H. Thurston, long a leading public figure in Hawaii, president of the Board. Thurston promptly wrote to Pinchot for advice. Pinchot responded by dispatching William L. Hall to the islands to study conditions and, subsequently, recommended the hiring of Hosmer (M.F., Yale, 1902) as "Superintendent of Forestry" for the territory.1
Such an interpretation was overly simplistic - and, as was true of much of the analysis that sprang from Pinchot's circle, a historical and self‑serving, as well. The roots of forestry tan further back in Hawaiian history and were more complex than Hosmer claimed. Rather than having a single taproot leading to Pinchot, forestry's roots in Hawaii derived from domestic and international, as well as American, sources.
Environmental degradation and deforestation began early in Hawaii. Recent research demonstrates that long before white contact large stretches of dry, lowland forests had been destroyed, primarily through the use of fire in slash‑and‑burn agriculture. Excavations at the oldest settlement site yet found in Hawaii suggest that such shifting agriculture was practiced as early as 400‑500 AD By approximately 1600 the Hawaiian population appears to have grown to the point that it was taxing the carrying capacity of the land. Settlement pushed into ever more marginal areas, continuing the process of deforestation and setting in motion forces of environmental degradation that provide a likely explanation for the decline in population that apparently occurred between 1600 and the arrival of Europeans in the late eighteenth century.2
When Captain James Cook visited the Hawaiian Islands in 1778 he found that forests began at middle elevations a considerable distance from the coast. A vast area of grassland stretched from his anchorage on Waimea Bay to the forest belt some distance inland; "not even a shrub grows naturally on this extensive space," he noted, and firewood had to be brought from great distances.3 George Vancouver found similar conditions. He noted that the broad belt between the coastal taro fields and the beginning of the forests, that is "at least one half of the' island, appeared to produce nothing but a coarse spiky grass from an argillaceous soil that had the appearance of having undergone the action of fire." Shortly after, he observed a vast grassland actually being fired.4 Such contemporary reports, combined with subsequent botanical and archeological investigations, make it clear that extensive areas, once forested, had been cleared and replaced with an anthropogenic fire regime similar to the talasiga ("burnt lands") of Fiji long before the advent of European visitors. At a conservative estimate, 25 percent of the land area of the islands was thus changed. The coastal Hawaii, that Cook, Vancouver, and other early visitors saw was a cultural landscape shaped by human hands, not a natural one.5
But environmental change accelerated after Western contact. Cook introduced the goat to Hawaii, Vancouver cattle and sheep. Protected by a royal kapu (taboo), they multiplied rapidly. By the time David Douglas visited the islands in 1833 feral herbivores were numerous. As Douglas wrote, “the grassy flanks of the mountain (Mauna Kea] abound with wild cattle, the offspring of the stock left here by Captain Vancouver…”6 Although the kapu had been lifted so that commoners could now kill cattle, sheep, and goats to supplement their food supplies, the number of herbivores continued to climb, and environmental damage was soon in evidence. Shallow‑rooting native species suffered from the hooves of grazing ungulates, and slow‑growing plant species recovered with difficulty as they were browsed ever more heavily. As growing numbers of feral animals pushed onto steep slopes, erosion increased. The cause of the problem was readily recognized. As one writer put it in 1851: "Large tracts now lying waste may be speedily covered with forests by being protected from fires and cattle." William Hillebrand, a German botanist active in Hawaii, Joined the handful calling for measures to protect native vegetation, but the damage went on.7
Sandalwood traders made inroads of their own into the forests of Hawaii. Haltingly begun in 1790, the trade in sandalwood had become a major undertaking by 1811 and was at fever pitch from 1815 to 1826. The extent of the original sandalwood stands is difficult to determine, but based on the quantities shipped sandalwood must have made up a high percentage of the trees where it grew in the dry, mixed forests between 300 and 1000 feet elevation and have been widely distributed.8 King Kamehameha I, who enjoyed a royal monopoly of sandalwood, placed a kapu on the cutting of young sandalwood trees, hoping to perpetuate this valuable source of wealth. His successor, Liholiho (Kamehameha II), was less cautious and more insecure. He shared cutting privileges with various high chiefs and harvested with abandon. Within two decades, the slow‑growing sandalwood had been virtually exterminated in the islands. By 1839, when a law was passed restricting the cutting of sandalwood (the first forestry law in Hawaii), it was already too late to save more than a few scattered specimens of the tree.9
Near mid‑century, commercial lumbering began in the islands. The owner of a sawmill on Maui announced that he was preparing to replace his water‑powered single sash saw with a circular saw, had ample stands of koa and ohia nearby, and had 80 yoke of oxen to keep the mill supplied with logs. "I shall be able soon to supply the Hawaiian market with the beet of building material," he boasted, "Provided there is sufficient patriotism in the land to patronize its own manufactures."10 In spite of this and similar efforts, sawmilling languished in the islands. Buyers continued to obtain the bulk of their lumber from the West Coast of the United States - and for good reason. Douglas fir and redwood were inexpensive and the quality generally good, while ohia boards had a tendency to warp and twist; as one observer put it, "spit on one of the damn [ohia] sticks, and in ten minutes it's a corkscrew." The inroads of loggers into Hawaii's forests thus remained small; they played a negligible role in the ,movement for forest conservation that emerged in the islands during the last quarter of the nineteenth century.11
Interest in botany, horticulture, and forestry grew during 'the 1870s.' Sanford B. Dole praised Horace Mann's "Flora of the Hawaiian Islands," calling it "a great national work," and urged the government to support its publication.12 Ferdinand Clark decried the destruction that cattle had brought to the forests of Hawaii and called for fencing to allow recovery. "If proper attention was paid to forest culture," he wrote ' "these Islands would rival if not excel any spot on the face of the globe in the luxuriance and variety of its trees and plants." W. E. Lane took more concrete action. He sent kou seeds to the Minister of Interior for planting in Kapiolani Park, being developed at Waikiki; kou trees, he believed, would prove ideal there, "as the Salt atmosphere seems to be Just right for them."13
Others were intrigued with the Possibilities offered by nonindigenous plants. The Royal Hawaiian Agricultural Society ran a small nursery in Honolulu from about 1856 until the body disbanded in 1869. It gave to any association with land under its control "as many trees as they will agree to take care of." Albert Jaeger followed with a private nursery from which he distributed ornamentals free to friends and neighbors (and later to any who asked). The government took over the nursery, but Jaeger remained in charge and free distribution continued. Jaeger and others regularly imported promising species from abroad, and King Kalakaua sent back trees and cuttings during his world tour in 1881.14 James C. Bailey of Wailuku, Maui, even went so far as to purchase "land on the slope of Haleakala for the express purpose of planting trees." He told the Minister of Interior that he had sent to the United States for seeds of, pine, hemlock, oak, birch, chestnut, and other species with which "to make a trial . . . . If they can be successfully grown here their value to the Islands will be very great."15
During the last half of the nineteenth century, residents of Hawaii were building a plantation economy based on sugar. Honolulu grew in response to the prosperity which this brought. Soon the city was outstripping its meager water supplies. Nuuanu Stream, its main source, had become more intermittent and undependable as feral and domestic herbivores made continuing inroads into the protective cover of its watershed. Pressure to build a new, larger reservoir mounted, and the legislature of 1876 appropriated $25,000 for the purpose. It also passed "An Act for the Protection and Preservation of Woods and Forests." The act authorized the Minister of Interior to set aside and protect woods and forest lands that were valuable either as watersheds or as sources of timber and to appoint a superintendent of woods and forests to administer the resulting reservations.16
Sentiment for reforesting the slopes behind Honolulu was especially strong. The action of the legislature of 1876 spurred talk that the government planned to acquire land on the upper reaches of Nuuanu Valley and commence reforestation there. This led at least one resident to apply to head the program; he had, he claimed, "had considerable success in the line of tree planting in 'Thomas Square,' and elsewhere."17 Little if any tree planting was done in Nuuanu Valley at that time, but at least the cattle were removed.
Getting rid of cattle had a dramatic impact. A mere two years later, a Honolulu newspaperman wrote, "the result is strikingly noticeable . . . Where was a dry, barren waste, trodden bare by cattle, is now . . . almost a marsh, with quite a luxuriant growth of ferns and shrubbery, and supplying a natural reservoir to supply the springs and streams." When wildfire threatened the new growth, the paper called for prompt government action to suppress it.18 Then, on June 22, 1878, King Kalakaua led a party to the headwaters of Nuuanu Stream to plant trees. The Pacific Commercial Advertiser applauded, calling it "a most praiseworthy undertaking on his part, and an excellent example to his people."19
Seeking to broaden support for forestry, the newspaper reprinted articles from abroad, and the Planters' Monthly., voice of the sugar interests, followed suit. Among those reprinted was an article by Nathanie 1 Egelston, head of the United States Division of Forestry. A note added to an article from Harper’s, suggested that "if a portion of our Hawaiian youth who are sent abroad by the Government for an education could be placed in some of the 'schools of forestry' referred to, we might hope for larger returns for the investment than in the case of those who take naval or military courses."20
Planters’ Monthly did not stop with reprints. Its lead article for October 1882 was a four‑page essay called "Forestry." The author noted that tree planting and forest preservation were occupying more general attention than ever before," summarized the situation in Europe and British activity in India (where steps were being taken to solve problems similar to Hawaii's), and then turned to the islands themselves. "Who, that has lived here for twenty‑five years or even less, has not observed the immense destruction that has taken place in our limited forests?" he asked. In 1860 Makiki, Manoa, and Nuuanu valleys behind Honolulu had all been "hidden beneath a wealth of richest vegetation" and the stream flow from them was pure and constant. Now water came in occasional, destructive, muddy torrents, for the "valleys and hillsides [were] almost wholly denuded of trees." Conditions were no better in the outer islands. Devastation was widespread on Hawaii; "Maui, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai are all equal sufferers; Kahoolawe is sometimes looked upon as past recovery. Its clouds of red dust make a lurid picture far at sea." The causes have generally gone unchecked and disregarded, but here and there individuals had been taking corrective action, planting trees and protecting stands from destructive herbivores. The government should follow the lead thus provided, "take the matter in hand and push it steadily forward. There should be a plan and action which ought to survive short‑lived administrations."21 Thrum's annual, a respected voice for commercial interests, quickly Joined in the call for action.22
Throughout the increasing discussion, the question of water was central. While sugar could be grown without irrigation in favored windward sites, in leeward locations, where the vast majority of potential plantation land lay, irrigation was necessary. In spite of an ongoing search for new sources of irrigation water, supplies were soon stretched to their limits.23 Concern for watershed protection rose in response. Plantation owners, both singly and collectively, began calling both for reforestation to protect the watersheds and for the control of domestic and feral herbivores, which were continuing their destructive ways.
Sugar plantations were, of course, making their own inroads into the forests. Some lowland mixed forests had survived the slash‑and‑burn agricultural techniques of pre‑contact Polynesians. Nearly all of this remnant that was growing on relatively unprecipitous ground was now cleared for the cultivation of sugar cane.24 For a time, vast quantities of fuelwood also went to fuel Plantation sugar mills. One operator reported using six to seven hundred cords a year in his plant. On Maui, H. W. Wilfong cleared out the Wailuku valley to supply fue1to, the mill he managed "and turned what' was formerly a dense forest into an open grassy country." Woodcutting also caused considerable deforestation in the North Kohala district of Hawaii, but by the 18808 the majority of the mills had turned to coal or adopted new technologies that used residues from cane plants for fuel. Woodcutting soon ceased to be a major problem.25
Cattle ranching, on the other hand, was expanding, in large part to meet the demands of the growing population that came with the sugar boom. This expansion, coupled with the constant presence of feral herbivores, put great strain on the forests. At mid‑century ranchers had commenced operations near Honuaula, Maui. Thirty years later, observers reported that the "forest has retired far up the mountain," timber commencing some two 26 miles above where it had formerly begun.26 Moreover, as cattle ranching increased, pressure grew for the government to Bell or lease out forest lands under its control. The temptation to do so' was great, for sales and leases offered a ready source of 27 funds which the government desperately needed.27
Cattlemen readily admitted that they were contributing to deforestation and being hurt by it. Water sources on which their herds depended were drying up; they had to go ever further into the mountains to find adequate supplies. In Kohala, the mountain had been stripped to the very top. As a planter there put it, all the valuable growths of the land fall before the assaults of the cattle, until bare and unsightly hills alone remain." But cattlemen balked at the expense of the fences needed to solve the problem. The trustees for the huge Parker Ranch did finally agree to cooperate in a fence building program in the Hamakua district of Hawaii, but like other cattle interests they failed to add their voices to the growing cry for protection of the forests.28
Thus it was left to the sugar interests and their Honolulu allies to provide leadership in the drive for forest conservation. Claus Spreckels was in the forefront. In 1878 he sent a petition to King Kalakaua seeking permission to sink tunnels and wells on government land to intercept water he believed to be "Passing off in subterranean channels" to the sea. Having done that, Spreckels turned to the question of forest preservation. He urged Kalakaua (1) to push for an order to "Protect the forests and timber on the Government and Crown lands from destruction by cattle, sheep, cutting, etc."; (2) to halt the sale or lease of lands belonging to the government or crown .1 except with the distinct reservation of all the timber and forests on such lands and with the condition that the purchaser or lessee has to protect the forest districts by fencing if he intends to keep cattle or sheep"; (3) to require buyers and lessees to obtain special permission from the Government . . . to cut any timber, these permits be granted to a very limited extent, specifying what portion of an acre he is allowed to cut, or the number of Cords of wood he is allowed to cut"; and (4) to "appeal to the good sense of the people that own and control large tracts of land and especially timberland" to take similar actions to protect watersheds and timberland. Spreckels justified such actions by pointing not only to the drying up of streams and springs that occurred when the forest coverage that slowed runoff was removed but also to climatic drying that supposedly followed deforestation. Finally, perhaps out of fear that the government would ignore his pleas for conservation, Spreckels requested "the first Privilege of purchase if the Government should conclude to sell any of the forest lands in the vicinity of Spreckels's operations on Maui.29
Other planters took more concrete action. In 1882, the Lihue Plantation Company on Kauai employed a German forester to oversee the operation and commenced reforestation of 300 acres of its vital watershed. James Makee undertook a similar program on Maui, as did David Haughs and others on the Big Island. Rather than replanting, the Pacific Sugar mill in Kohala fenced its watershed lands, and a remarkable recovery of its vegetation was soon in evidence.30
For its part, the government was pushing ahead with reforestation in the hills behind Honolulu.31 In September 1882, Albert Jaeger launched a systematic program of tree planting under the direction of the Minister of Interior. Over the next year and a half Jaeger spent $7,437, planted some 11,400 seedlings on 36 acres on Mt. Tantalus (at the head of Makiki Valley) and sowed seeds that yielded an estimated 40,000 young trees on another 27 acres. He had an additional 10,000 seedlings in the government nursery ready for planting. Jaeger urged a biennial appropriation of $12,000 to keep the program going.32
Jaeger's efforts were not entirely successful. An estimated 15,000 young trees succumbed to drought in the summer of 1883; the semi‑wild goats and horses that infested the area's hills did further damage; grasscutters frequently left gates to the tract open, letting in animals "to roam over the cultivations at will"; inadequate financial support forced the program to depend upon donated seedlings in 1886 and 1887; and Jaeger's management came in for public criticsm.33
Still, Jaeger remained sanguine. As he noted, there was still much to learn about reforestation work in climates such Hawaii's, Although so far the greatest successes had come from plantings of eucalyptus, ironwood, and wattle. By 1889 Jaeger had planted some 450,000 seedlings from the nursery. In time, he prophesied, the program would yield "a handsome revenue" to the Hawaiian government.34
But the sugar planters wanted the government to do far more than reforest a few acres of Honolulu's watershed. In 1884 leaders of the Planters' Labor and Supply Co. (forerunner of the powerful Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association) appointed a committee on forestry. Under the chairmanship of Charles R. Bishop, it actively sought recommendations from planters on what laws were needed to make forest protection effective.35 Complaints came in from all parts of the islands telling of forest destruction. However, the Planters' Monthly, lamented, action only seemed to have been undertaken "in a few isolated spots to remedy the evil." Moreover, while the forest reservation law of 1876 had offered a‑promising vehicle for forest conservation, "like many of our laws, it has become something of a dead letter." The planters pushed to rejuvenate the law and to have the 1887 legislature reopen the entire of how best to protect the nation's forests.36
F. A. Schaeffer stated the planters' position clearly: "His Majesty's Government should make the protection of forests its policy vigorously upheld, and it should see fit to ask the Legislative Assembly for an appropriation to carry it into effect." Such action would enjoy wide support, and "no policy would, I believe, show more foresight and understanding of the country's best interests. . .“37
The government responded to the mounting pressure. In 1887 it named forest "keepers" for the island of Maui (and perhaps other islands as well).38 More important, In that same year Charles T. Gulick introduced legislation calling for creation of a Bureau of Agriculture and Forestry and appropriating funds to hire a commissioner to head it. Success did not come at once, but in 1893 the legislature finally enacted the proposal. Joseph Marsden, appointed to the position of Commissioner, promptly departed for the Big Island to carry out field investigations and meet with planters and others to assess what needed to be done in the hard‑hit Hamakua district. Consensus quickly followed, and Marsden hammered out an agreement for a program of fencing (primarily to be paid for by the plantation interests) to protect the district's vital watersheds. Nor did he stop there. Marsden urged that the government take "early action" to have the lands involved set aside in a forest reserve under the terms of the long neglected forest act of 1876.39
Momentum established, Marsden continued to push ahead. He urged planters in Kohala to follow the example of those in the Hamakua district and soon thereafter visited Maui to push for a similar plan there. He successfully lobbied for funds for a new, larger government nursery, replacing the controversial Jaeger as its head with David Haughs; he had a quarantine declared to protect forests of the outer islands from pests introduced on recent imports into Oahu; and he got the salary of the "forester" in charge of the Makiki tract brought up to the level of the gardener employed at the nursery.40
Other changes soon followed. Lease laws were tightened in an effort to bring the devastation by the herds belonging to cattlemen under control. (Unfortunately, some of the lands most adversely affected were already tinder long‑term lease, and the damage on those continued unabated.)41 The Board of Agriculture and Forestry' also commissioned Allan Herbert to survey the forests and government lands and report on their condition. Herbert reported in September of 1899; and the board promptly went on record as believing that forests were "one of the most important subjects it has to deal with, and something must be done to protect" them.‑ The Board requested that the question of forestry‑be taken up by the government's Executive Council. In the meantime, Herbert and Haughs were appointed a committee of two to ascertain the amount of forest land that should be fenced off and what other actions needed to be taken.42
Private interests continued active. The Ie Estate on Oahu began fencing its forestlands in 1893; various landowners in the Kohala and Kau districts of the Big Island and here and there on Molokai did the same. One plantation on Maui reserved 50,000 acres of forest land for watershed protection. The Bishop Estate, Hawaii’s largest landowner, followed suit and had soon set aside as much land as the government and all other private landowners combined.43
The Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association, founded in 1895f played a leading role in the drive for forest conservation, hardly a surprising development considering the long‑standing interest of Planters in the subject. It had a three‑man forestry committee which was charged with investigating conditions and recommending appropriate legislation. Walter Maxwell, head of the association's experiment station, played the leading role an the committee. In 1897, he contacted Bernhard Eduard Fernow, chief of the United States Division of Forestry, outlining conditions in the islands and the association's interest in encouraging government action. Maxwell asked for Fernow's advice. The latter recommended against leaning on the claim that forests increased rainfall, for "this argument is open to attack without sure defense," and suggested instead emphasizing the role that forests played in preventing runoff and erosion. Fernow also recommended a survey of the islands' forests, which could serve as a base for planning (and suggested that he could perhaps do it himself, on leave from the U.S. government, at $500 per month; he was, he noted, currently doing that sort of thing for Wisconsin). Finally, Fernow wrote: "It may [also] be found desirable to employ a permanent officer, whose business it i8‑to look after forestry interests."44
Maxwell and the other committee members responded by getting the Planters' association to urge the legislature to appropriate funds for a thorough survey of the islands' forests and their problems. 45 For the moment, nothing was done. Hawaii was in the midst of annexation by the United States, which pushed the question of forestry into the background.
Still, there was continuity. Sanford B. Dole, President of the Republic of Hawaii and a long‑time supporter of forestry, became the first territorial governor of the islands. In 1902 the planters' association renewed its calls for government action, pressing specifically for the appointment of agents to designate the boundaries for forest reserves, work with landowners and lessees to bring them about, and secure "voluntary subscriptions to fence in the reservations so that livestock cannot trespass thereon."46 Dole agreed, indeed he was ready to go even further than the committee.
Dole had spent two months vacationing on the Big Island in the summer of 1901, "the greater part . . . among the mountains and in the interior part of the Island . . . noting the forestry conditions." The problems of Hawaii's forests were thus fresh in his mind. He had already decided to declare a 30,000 a contract between Mauna Kea and Hualalai "a permanent forest reservation" and was considering refusing to renew all grazing leases on the upper reaches of Mauna Kea so those lands could also "be reserved as forest land as fast as the leases run out." He was also prepared to request funds from the legislature for fencing of these tracts, removing herbivores from them, and replanting where necessary.47
Under the circumstances, when the planters' association approached Dole a few months later, he not only accepted their ideas enthusiastically, but also pushed it to broaden its campaign to Include tree planting. Dole noted that while some forests would recover if cattle were excluded from them, others "have been denuded of trees for a considerable time and have become covered with a heavy growth of grass" which prevents reseeding and crowds out those tree seedlings that do manage to take root. On such lands, "artificial assistance is essential to reforesting," Dole told members of the association's forestry committee.48
Dole appointed local planters to serve as his agents in blocking out forest reserves in the Kohala, Hamakua, and north Hilo districts of the island of Hawaii, sent urgent requests to Washington, D.C., for a forester to survey the territory's forests, and, when the legislature met early in 1903, went to it with a package of proposed forestry legislation. His actions bore fruit. The governor's agents pushed ahead with their work on the Big Island, hammering out consensus and building local support; Edward M. Griffith, an assistant forester with what was by then known as the United States Bureau of Forestry, arrived in the islands to conduct a survey of the forests (which he completed in 1902); and Dole's forestry proposals passed through the legislature largely unscathed.49
In spite of all this, Dole was not satisfied. The territorial legislature, faced with serious financial problems, appropriated no funds for fencing or reforestation.50 On Hawaii government forest reserves had not yet been formalized in spite of considerable progress in that direction; elsewhere they were even further from becoming reality. And there was still no resident forester charged with developing and implementing a program of forest protection and management. Griffith's report was useful, but it said nothing that informed island residents did not already know.51
Dole renewed his pleas to Washington for help. Finally, After "numerous, long‑continued requests," Gifford Pinchot sent William L. Hall to Hawaii' to carry out a more thorough survey.52 Hall spent three months in the islands conferring with Dole, leading planters, and others and traveling to all of the main islands. Still, the report that resulted said nothing new. Hall endorsed the work of Dole's agents and the planters, denounced the destruction being wrought by cattle, and essentially recommended continuing along already established lines. His work was important not because it offered anything fresh, but because it gave an official stamp of approval from Washington and provided added ammunition in efforts to prod any remaining recalcitrants among legislators and landowners into action.53 And it was Hall, not Pinchot, who recommended hiring Ralph Hoi3mer as Territorial Forester, calling him "the best man connected with the department for the duties involved."54
Thus, when Hosmer arrived in 1904 to become the first Territorial Forester of Hawaii, a solid foundation was already in place. Hosmer promptly left for the Big Island with the new governor, W. R. Carter, where he met with planters and learned of their work in establishing and fencing forest reserves.55 The trip led to no noticeable change of direction or policy. Act 44 of the territorial legislature, passed in 1903 thanks to the work of Dole and his allies, was on the books by the time Hosmer arrived. It provided the long‑needed legal vehicle for the creation of reserves encompassing private as well as public lands. Through this law, Hosmer was able to build an impressive system of reserves throughout the islands.
The breakthrough came in 1906, when the powerful Alexander & Baldwin interests turned a vast acreage of forested watershed on Maui, which they had protected for seventeen years, over to the territorial Board of Agriculture and Forestry (and thus to Hosmer) for management.56 Prior to this, most private owners had preferred to depend upon their own devices rather than on the well‑intentioned, but under‑funded efforts of the government.57 The appointment of Hosmer, the consummate professional, had helped to convince them that Hawaii could be depended upon to care for forest reserves over the long haul. Following the transfer by Alexander & Baldwin, others fell into line, and Hosmer was able to push rapidly ahead. By the time he was through, a quarter of the land area of Hawaii was in forest re8erve8‑‑all brought into being without significant opposition.58
The support that made Hosmer's accomplishments possible had been built up over a period of three decades and more. It owed little to Gifford Pinchot and his circle, who arrived on the scene after a strong sentiment for forest preservation was already in place. The web of influences leading to forestry in Hawaii was complex and international. It traced back to the rising interest in the 1870s in botany, horticulture, and forestry and to the plant exchanges that this encouraged; to the cosmopolitan connections of Hawaii's haole elite that kept them in touch with ideas from Europe and America as well as from around the Pacific Basin; to the work of Jaeger, Haughs, Marsden, Maxwell, and Dole; to King Kalakaua; and above all to the persistent efforts of the sugar interests and their commercial allies (and the course of political events which brought them ever closer to the seats of power). The idea of a system of fenced forest reserves to protect watersheds, Hosmer's main accomplishment, in fact stemmed from the forest acts of 1876 and 1903, both 'Passed before Hosmer arrived on the scene. Hall's survey, which Hosmer pointed to as a cornerstone, was in fact the third, not the first such survey and, while longer, said little that Herbert and Griffith had not stated in their own surveys already. Indeed, Pinchot and his protégés were not even the source of the first sound advice from a professional forester‑that came from Bernhard Fernow.
In the beginning Hosmer admitted the debt that he owed to those who had labored in Hawaii before him. After his initial visit to the island of Hawaii with Governor Carter, he announced that he was "greatly impressed and pleased to find what an excellent sentiment existed in regard to the necessity of forest preservation." In 1909 he acknowledged that a good deal had been done before his arrival by both the government and private citizens through tree planting and the establishment of reserves. Indeed, "one of the notable things about Hawaii is the strong public sentiment in favor of forestry. . . . It is an index of the intellectual standing of a community when the people take measures looking to its future welfare." Hawaii had met that test.59
Although Hosmer left the islands in 1914, he continued to be a key player in forestry circles. He remained active in the Society of American Foresters - which he, Pinchot, Hall, and a handful of others had founded in 1900 ‑ and eventually became a professor of forestry at Cornell University. Over the years, in this environment well removed from the islands and dominated by the legend of Gifford Pinchot - that self‑anointed father of conservation60 - Hosmer's memory of what had preceded him in Hawaii grew dim. Late in life when he wrote what has stood ever since as the standard account of the birth of forestry in Hawaii, Hosmer gave the primary credit to Pinchot (and, by association, to himself). The Hawaiian Sugar Planters' Association, Lorrin Thurston, and Dole were accorded small, contributory roles; others were overlooked altogether. Such an interpretation fit well with the view of the rise of American forestry that had come to be standard among professional foresters, but it misrepresented the facts. Worse, it failed to admit the breadth and depth of the late nineteenth century movement that had made possible not only forestry in Hawaii, but also the work done elsewhere by men such as Hosmer and Pinchot.
1. Ralph S. Hosmer, "The Beginning Five Decades of Forestry in Hawaii," Journal of Forestry, 57 (1959): 83; Ralph S. Hosmer, oral history interview by Bruce C. Harding, 1957 (Forest History Society, Durham, N.C.), 20. On Hosmer's background, see: Hawaiian Forester and Agriculturist, 1 (1904): 26‑27. Hosmer was, the Journal noted, one of the‑first whom Gifford Pinchot gathered around him after he became head" of the Bureau of Forestry 14 1898 and later, a member of Yale's first graduating class in forestry. On Thurston, see: Ralph S. Kuykendall, "Lorrin Andrews Thurston" in Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, 20 vols. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1928‑36), 18: 517‑18.
2. Elwood C. Zimmerman, "Nature of the Land Biota," in Man's Place in the 1sland Ecosystem: A Symposium, F. R. Fosberg, ed. (Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1965), 57‑58; T. Stell Newman, "Cultural Adaptations to the Island of Hawaii Ecosystem: The Theory behind the Lapakahi Project," in Archaeology on the Island of Hawaii, Richard Pearson, ed. (Honolulu: Social Science Research Institute, University of Hawaii, 1969), 7‑14; Patrick Vinton Kirch, "The Chronology of Early Hawaiian Settlement," Archeology and Physical Anthropology of Oceania, 9 (1974): 115; Patrick V. Kirch, "The Impact of Prehistoric Polynesians on the Hawaiian Ecosystem," Pacific Science, 36 (1982): 1‑8, 10‑11; Storrs L. Olson and Helen F. James, Prodromus of the Fossil Avifauna of the Hawaiian Islands, Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, no. 365 (Washington, D.C., 1982), 10‑12, 42‑49; Warren L. Wagner, Darrel R. Herbert, and Rylan S. N. Lee, "Status of the Native Flowering Plants of the Hawaiian Islands," in Hawaii's Terrestrial Ecosystems: Preservation and Management, Charles P. Stone and J. Michael Scott, eds. (Honolulu: University of Hawaii, 1985), 26, 43, 44‑45, 54, 56‑59.
3. James Cook, A Voyage to the Pacific Ocean. Undertaken by the Command of His Majesty, for Making Discoveries In the Northern Hemisphere, 3rd ed. (3 vols.; London: G. Nicholl and T. Caddell, 1784), 2: 224‑25.
4. George Vancouver, Voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean‑and Round the World (2 vole.; Amsterdam: N. Israel, 1798), 1: 170, 175‑76. Oral traditions, recorded in 1869‑70, also attest to the use of fire in ancient Hawaiian agriculture. See: Samuel Manaiakalani Kamakau, The Works of the People of Old: NA Hana a ka, Poe Kahiko, Mary K. Pukui, trans.; D. B. Barrere, ed. (Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1976), 24, 25.
5. Olson and James, Prodromus 46‑47; Kirch, "Impact of Prehistoric Polynesians," 6‑8; William Hatheway, "Composition of Certain Native Dry Forests: Mokuleia, T.H.," Ecological Monographs, 22 (1952): 160‑68; Russell K. LeBarron, "The History of Forestry in Hawaii: From the Beginning through World War II, Aloha Aina, 1 (April 1970): 12‑14. In addition to creating grasslands, Polynesians introduced a number of non‑indigenous plants to Hawaii. These included the coconut, mulberry, taro, and breadfruit. However, the environmental impact of these introductions was surely less than that of shifting agriculture. On Hawaiian grasslands, see: Richard J. Vogl, "The Role of Fire in the Evolution of the Hawaiian Flora and Vegetation," Proceedings, Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Conference, 9 (1969): 30‑33.
7. E. Bailey, "Report on Trees and Grasses," Transactions of the Royal Hawaiian Agricultural Society, 1 (1851): 80 [quotation]; Edward Y. Hosaka, "The Problems of Forestry and the Work in Progress toward Reforestation in the Territory of Hawaii" (unpub. thesis, University of Hawaii, 1930), 29.
8. St. John, "Sandalwood," 19‑20. For a summary of the sandalwood trade, see: Thomas R. Cox, "Sandalwood Trade," in Historical Dictionary of Oceania, Robert D. Craig and Frank P. King, eds. (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1981), 258‑59.
9. Ralph S. Kuykendall, The Hawaiian Kingdom, (3 vols.; Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1938‑67) 1: 85‑95; Theodore Morgan, Hawaii: A Century of Economic Change, 177B‑1876 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1948), 61‑68; Edward Y. Hosaka, "History of the Hawaiian Forest" (typescript; Honolulu: University of Hawaii, 1931), 23.
11. Planters' Monthly, 1 (1882), 139; J. M. Lydgate, "Hawaiian Woods and Forest Trees," Hawaiian Almanac and Annual for 1883 (Honolulu: Thos. G. Thrum, 1883), 33; LeBarron, "Forestry in Hawaii," 13 [quotation]. On the West Coast‑Hawaii lumber trade, see: Thomas R. Cox, Mills and Markets A History of the Pacific Coast Lumber Industry to 1900 (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1974), 80‑82 and passim.
12. Sanford B. Dole to [Minister of Interior?], April 25, 1870, Hawaii, Interior Dept., Misc. files: Agriculture and Forestry [hereafter AF], 1860‑1876 correspondence (Hawaiian State Archives, Honolulu). Dole had a deep interest in natural history. He had published A Synopsis of Birds of the Hawaiian Islands in 1869.
13. F[erdinand] L[eel] C[lark], "Decadence of Hawaiian Forests," Hawaiian Almanac and Annual for 1975 (Honolulu: Thos. G. Thrum, 1875), 20; W. E. Lane to (Minister of Interior), Nov. 19, 1877, AF, 1877‑83 corres. On the development of Kapiolani Park, see: Don Hibbard and David Franzen, The View from Diamond Head: Royal Residence to Urban Resort (Honolulu: Editions Limited, 1986), 12, 42‑43.
14. LeBarron, "Forestry in Hawaii," 13; J. F. B. Marshalls et al. to L. Kamehameha and W. L. Lee, Nov. 13, 1856; Minutes, Royal Hawaiian Agricultural Society, Aug. 28, 1867 [quotation], AF, Royal Hawaiian Agricultural Society file; Hawaiian Forester and Agriculturist, 1 (1904): 120; James Makee to H. A. Wiedeman, March 12, 1874; James Smith to Minister of Interior, Dec. 2, 1874; Chas. T. Gulick to L. Severance, Dec. 14, 1874, AF, 1860‑76 corres. Numerous other letters in this and the next file CAF files, 1877‑83 corre8.1 give evidence to the growing interest in planting non‑indigenous species, especially trees. See also: Jaeger to [Lorrin A. Thurston] Minister of Interior, March 1, 1884, AF, 1883‑87 corres.; Minister of Interior to Jaeger, March 9, 1888, AF, 1888‑89 corres. Importations continued over the year. In 1908, the government nursery obtained seeds from Japan, Australia, India, Guam, Jamaica, Germany, Straits Settlements, Ceylon, Peru, Gold Coast, Java, and Uganda. Hawaiian Forester and Agriculturist, 4 (1908): 344‑45.
17. A. Sunter to W. L. Moehonua [Minister of Interior], Oct. 18, 1876 [quotation]; Sunter to J.. Mott Smith, Dec. 11, 1876, AF, 1860‑76 corres.; Honolulu Pacific Commercial Advertiser, April 12, 1879. Thomas Square in Honolulu was the site of the ceremonies that restored the Hawaiian monarchy in 1843 after a short‑lived cession to Great Britain. It became Hawaii's first public park shortly thereafter. On Moehonua, see: Honolulu Pacific Commercial Advertiser, Sept. 14, 1878.
19. Ibid., June 22, 1878.
20. Ibid., Jan. 26, Feb. 23, March 16 and 30, April 6, 1878; April 12, 1879; Planters' Monthly, 1 (1882): 71 (quotation], 72, 295; 8 (1889): 277‑79. The "editing committee" of Planters' Monthly was made up of Sanford B. Dole, William R. Castle and W. O. Smith. On Egleston, see: Harold K. Steen, The U.S. Forest Service: A History (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1976), 20‑21, 38‑39.
23. Honolulu Pacific Commercial Advertiser, Sept. 14 and Oct. 12, 1878; E. M. Griffith, Report to Governor Dole, Planters' Monthly, 22 (1903): 130‑31; J. N. S. Williams, "Methods of Obtaining Water Supply for Sugar Plantations in the Hawaiian Islands," ibid., 23 (1904): 408‑418; M. M. O'Shaughnes8y, "Irrigation in Hawaii," ibid., 418‑25. As Governor W. R. Carter told Pinchot, in the 18808 there was a "standing reward of $250.00 for [the finder of] any spring of water which would yield a good amount . . . . Water limits everything in Hawaii. .. Carter to Pinchot, Sept. 21, 1906, Gifford Pinchot Papers (Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.), file 607.
25. Ibid.; Planters' Monthly, 3 (1884)‑ 442‑44, 460‑62 [quotation pp. 460‑611; Walter M. Giffard, Some Observations on Hawaiian Forests and Forest Cover in their relation to Water Supply (Honolulu: Joint Committee on Forestry, 1913), 18. However, some complaints continued to be heard about the activities of Chinese woodcutters. They probably supplied domestic and other non‑sugar mill demands. See: ibid., 6 (1887): 437‑39.
27. The denuded areas, J. M. Lydgate wrote, "are a perpetual shame to the tropics, to the ranches and plantations that have sapped the vitality and beauty of the land for short sighted and mercenary purposes, [and a shame to the shiftless councils of the nation that have dallied with or bartered away the welfare of the country." See: Lydgate, "Hawaiian Woods and Forest Trees," Hawaiian Almanac and Annual for 1884, 31.
28. Planters' Monthly, 3 (1884): 444 [quotation], 461‑62; 14 (1895): 13‑14, 15; F. A. Schaeffer to L. A. Thurston, March 5, 1888, AF, 1888‑89 corres.; Marsden to King, July 5, 1893, and May 29, 1895; copy of indenture between planters, Parker Estate, and government, dated Nov. 2, 1893, AF, 1892‑97 corres. 14 (1895): 13‑15. The situation failed to improve as time passed. At the turn of the century, Byron 0. Clark declared bluntly, "the pastoral industry as it is now conducted is a curse to the country," and a contemporary wrote .. sooner or later, but positively and entirely [the forests will disappear before the army of devastating cattle." Three years later, E. M. Griffith found the situation still unchanged. "It seems essentially wrong," he wrote, "that the welfare of the whole islands should be sacrificed to benefit the cattle business which forms such a small part of the commercial prosperity of the islands." Clark to J. C. Lenhart, Feb. 6, 1899, AF, letterbooks; Koebele, "Hawaii's Forest Foes," 95; Griffith, report on Hawaiian forests, reprinted in Planters' Monthly, 22 (1903): 130.
30. Planters' Monthly, 1 (1882): 140; 3 (1884): 461; Lester W. Bryan, "Twenty‑five Years of Forestry Work on the Island of Hawaii," Hawaiian Planters' Record, 51 (1947): 2; Schaeffer to Thurston, March 5, 1888, AF, 1888‑89 corres.
31. In 1879 Honolulu's first deep artesian well was completed, but as yet no one realized that it indicated the presence of a huge aquifer that was to free the city from dependence on surface waters such as Nuuanu Stream and allow continued growth over the decades that followed. In any case, reforestation was as important for recharging the aquifer as it was for maintaining stream flow in Nuuanu and other valleys. See: Kazu Hayashida, "Water Resource Issues on Oahu," Proceedings, Hawaii Forestry Wildlife Conference, October 2‑4. 1980 ([Honolulu?]: USDA, Forest Service, 1981), 40‑41.
33. Jaeger to Minister of Interior, March 1, 1884; John Kidwell. to Chas. T. Gulick, June 10, 1885; Kidwell to L. A. Thurston, Aug. 2, 1887, AF, 1883‑87 corres.; Jaeger to Thurston, Feb. 22, 1888, with enclosure; statement of witnesses for A. Jaeger, July 13, 1889, AF, 1888‑89 corres.; Hawaiian Forester and Agriculturist, 1 (1904): 123, 321. There is additional material dealing with the Makiki reforestation program, the government nursery, and Jaeger's management of the two in AF, 1888‑89 corres.
[quotation]; Jaeger to Thrusts, Feb. 22, 1888, AF, 1888‑89 corres.; LeBarron, "History of Forestry in Hawaii," 13. Jaeger's optimism was not unwarranted. Although the plantings failed to become a source of direct revenue, by the, last years of the century the forests on Mt. Tantalus had prospered so well that they had to be thinned. See: corres. re. calls for tenders, various dates, AF, 1898‑1900 corres.
39. Marsden to Wilmut Vreedenderg, May 11, 1893; Marsden to Andrew Moore, June 9, 1893; Marsden to King, July 5,.1893, AF, 1892‑97 corres.; Marsden, "Conservation of Hawaiian Forests," Planters' Monthly, 14 ((1895): 13‑16. Marsden is primarily remembered as the one who introduced the mongoose to Hawaii to control the rat population; ever after, he was known as Mongoose. Joe."
40. Marsden to King, July 6, 1893, May 22, 1895, Feb. 5, 1896 March 19, 1897; Marsden to Inter‑Is1and Steam Navigation Co., Aug. 4, 1893; Marsden to R. R. Hind, Jan. 29, 1894, AF, 1892‑97 corres.; Planters' Monthly, 14 (1895): 14; David Haughs to Alexander Young, March 29, 1900, AF, 1898‑1900 corres. Haughs; highly competent, was to continue to run the nursery and associated programs until 1927. So broad were his responsibilities that he has been described as Hawaii's first territorial forester, a position not officially created until the eve of Hosmer's appointment. See: Bryan, "Twenty‑five Years of Forestry Work," 2.
41. Planters' Monthly, 22 (1903); 135, 426; Koebele, "Hawaii's Forest Foes," 96‑97.
47. Dole to F. A. Hitchcock, Dec. 10, 1901, Pinchot Papers, file 607.
48. Dole to Committee, Dec. 4, 1902, Planters' Monthly, 22 (1903): 592‑93.
49. In 1904 Griffith became Wisconsin's first state forester.
52. Introduction to William L. Hall, "The Forests of the Hawaiian Islands," Hawaiian Forester and Agriculturist, 1 (1904), 73‑75.
53. Planters' Monthly, ?2 (1903): 426‑27; Hall, "Forests of the Hawaiian Islands," Hawaiian Forester and Agriculturist, 1 (1904), 51, 84‑102 [also published as Bureau of Forestry Bulletin no. 48 (Washington, D.C.: GPO, 1904)]
54. L. A. Thurston, Report of the Committee on Forestry, Planters' Monthly, 590.
58. Ibid., 1 (1904): 297‑98, 318‑21, 348, 352‑55; 2 (1905): 5, 24‑25, 338‑44; 3 (1906): 404‑414; Hosmer, "Some Aspects of the Forest Question in Hawaii," Planters’ Record, 2 (1910): 83‑89. However, it was left to Hosmer's successor, Charles S. Judd, to complete the fences and to provide the other herbivore controls that were necessary for the forest reserves to provide the full benefits that their champions had expected from them. Judd was another graduate of the Yale Forestry School, but as a native of Hawaii and grandson of Gerrit P. Judd, a key figure in Hawaiian government in the mid‑nineteenth century, he had advantages in working in the close‑knit society of the islands that Hosmer lacked. See: Hosmer, "The First Five Decades," 86‑87; Judd, "Forestry as Applied in Hawaii," Hawaiian Forester and Agriculturist, 15 (1918): 117‑33; Judd, "Forestry in Hawaii for Water Conservation," Journal of Forestry, 29 (1931): 363‑67; Judd, "Forestry in Hawaii," ibid., 33 (1935): 1005‑6.
59. Hawaiian Forester and Agriculturist, 1 (1904): 55‑58; Planters' Monthly, 28 (1909): 146‑48.