National Geographic : 2014 Aug
PHOTOS: PHOTO RESOURCE HAWAII/ALAMY; TODD A. GIPSTEIN, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC CREATIVE (TOP) NEXT Forest Revival Koa is the king of Hawaii’s endemic forests, the only places it grows. Reaching up to a hundred feet tall, these flowering trees once provided wood for native island- ers’ canoes and surfboards. But more than two centuries of logging and clearing the land for grazing have reduced koa forests to about 215,000 acres, perhaps half their original expanse. To reverse this decline, private landowners and state and federal governments have planted hundreds of thousands of trees over the past 35 years. The new koa forests attract birds, insects, and plants— and improve watersheds, which helps humans too. —A . R. Williams Still prized for furniture, richly colored koa wood was used in the 1870s to make the ornate bed above.