In order to achieve our mission, rare plants must not only survive in our nurseries and gardens, but also in their natural ecosystems alongside their co-evolutionary partners. Biocultural conservation is a progressive approach to conservation that recognizes and honors the intrinsic relationships between nature and humanity, and builds conservation programs that are founded in cultural values and aligned with community priorities. This human-in-nature approach leads to more long-term success because it involves the communities connected to the natural resources of concern to support success.
The Limahuli Valley is the second most biodiverse valley in Hawai'i which makes it the ideal location for our watershed-based (ridge-to-reef) conservation program at Limahuli Garden and Preserve. This biocultural conservation program works in collaboration with the Ha'ena Ahupua'a Project, to restore health and function to the social-ecological system that had been sustainably managed by native Hawaiians for more than 1,000 years. The ahupua'a system provides philosophies and practices for maintaining biodiversity, ensuring forest health, protecting stream integrity, creating fertile agricultural fields, and promoting an abundant near-shore fishery — all of which support human existence.
We collaborate with several partner organizations including, Hui Makaainana o Makana, to collectively form the Ha'ena Ahupua'a Alliance, and the Ha'ena Community-based Subsistence Fishing Area. CBSFA is the first Fishing Area in Hawai'i to officially adopt a rules package and management plan. These partnerships connect us to broader networks in the State, such as the E Alu Pū Network which is comprised of communities all over Hawai'i who engage in various co-management agreements. NTBG is also a proud member of the Hawai'i Conservation Alliance; which has selected the Ha'ena community for a pilot project to assess watershed health in the state of Hawai'i.