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A Sneak Peek at the Largest Reforestation Effort in Hawai’i

Apr 18, 2022

Spanning 9,627 acres on the western coast of the Big Island, Hawai’i, sits Kealakekua Mountain Reserve (KMR)—home to the largest reforestation effort in the state. KMR was established by doTERRA, in partnership with the Hawaiian government, to conserve and protect the native forest while also rebuilding and regenerating a delicate ecosystem which had previously been threatened by two centuries of over-logging and grazing.  

“When doTERRA looks for sourcing partnerships around the world, we deliberately choose locations where we can produce the highest quality essential oils while elevating the individual, social, economic, and environmental well-being of the community,” said Greg Hendrickson, KMR General Manager. “doTERRA recognized that the ethical and sustainable sourcing of ‘iliahi (Hawaiian Sandalwood) first requires a commitment to restore the natural habitat that previously existed on the land, and to do so in a way that reverences the remarkable culture of the Hawaiian Islands. KMR is helping ‘iliahi and other native Hawaiian species thrive once more.” 

Here’s what you need to know about the largest reforestation effort in Hawai’i’s history: 

  • Over 238,000 native trees have been planted since 2018.
  • Only dead or damaged trees are collected for essential oil production, allowing healthy 'iliahi trees to grow to full maturity. 
  • For every tree that is harvested, doTERRA is planting 120  more.
  • A PhD student living on-site is conducting three groundbreaking research studies related to 'iliahi, some of which are the first of their kind.

“Kealakekua Mountain Reserve has given me a rare opportunity as a student. Often, research is disconnected from the real world, but KMR allows me to work and implement my research findings in real time situations,” said Emily Thyroff, the on-site graduate student attending the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. “I'm also surrounded by people who care, like I do, about the plants and land. At KMR, it’s not just about the immediate gratification of planting a tree—they recognize the importance and long-term commitment of caring for a forest.” 

doTERRA's commitment is evident by KMR’s national recognition and our plan to plant 1,000,000 native trees by 2030. 

Malia Ka’aihue, who had the opportunity to help plant seedlings at KMR, said, “Opportunities to reconnect to the land like this offers us a piece of tomorrow. And in the tomorrow piece, there’s hope. There's hope that our children can live here and thrive here. There's hope that our plants can live here and thrive here, that our birds will come back, that the songs of our ancestors will return. That's the tomorrow piece that being at KMR really allows us to see and feel.” 

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