Not many visitors to Kauai's Hindu Monastery realize that a few dedicated monastics, along with a small hired crew have worked diligently over the past 20 years to plant and maintain a 100 acre forest of hardwood trees across the river, just a stones throw from the monastery. The trees now range from five foot saplings to fifteen year old trees up to 60 feet tall with plans to plant and/or replant a few more acres in the coming year.
Much of the land was originally covered with Koa and other native trees before it was cleared for sugar cane. Sugar cane became unprofitable and the land became available to the monastery in 2000. A small experimental planting took place following the 2002 celebration of Gurudeva's Mahasamadhi and in 2004 a long term lease was granted by the state of Hawaii and the large scale planting began.
Native Hawaiian Koa and large leafed mahogany are the two primary species grown with a few other varieties including teak and Narra planted here and there. Two aggressively invasive species of plant, guinea grass and albezia trees make maintenance of the trees mandatory and much more difficult that would otherwise be.
Eventually some of the trees will be judiciously harvested and either sold or used for monastery projects such as shrines and temples. Some of the most beautiful trees may be left for future generations and the harvested ones will be replanted with new trees.
Of special interest is an anticipated planting of especially tall, straight and mature teak trees which can be used for future kodimaram (traditional temple flagpole) installation and replacement for the monastery temple and other temples across the nation.
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