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Restoring Traditional Agriculture for Multiple Benefits in the Food-Energy-Water Nexus

We are extending our current NSF Coastal SEES research by identifying more directly the inherent food-energy-water (FEW) nexus surrounding Heʻeia

UHERO's Project Environment is currently collaborating with a local non-profit, Kako'o 'Oiwi, in He'eia on O'ahu. He'eia is a unique ahupua'a, where several NGOs are committed to restoring traditional social-ecological systems from mauka to makai. In addition to Kako'o 'Oiwi, which manages a 200-acre wetland, another group, Paepae o He'eia works to restore a downstream fishpond. The current conceptual management plan for Kako'o 'Oiwi includes wetland and stream restoration; restoration of lo'i kalo; upland agroforestry production of traditional medicinal, ornamental, and food crops; a poi mill for taro processing; detention ponds; as well as community and cultural centers for educational and cultural programs. They aim to do this in the most environmentally friendly way possible, including the utilization of renewable energy sources and improving terrestrial, aquatic, and marine habitat.

We are developing a framework and process to evaluate traditional agricultural restoration in the context of the food-energy-water nexus to address the following questions:

  • What are the costs and benefits in terms of food, water, and energy associated with restoring a traditional food production system in a contemporary context in He'eia?
  • What synergies and tradeoffs in food, water, and energy are produced by restoring traditional food systems in He'eia?
  • What other community, cultural, and ecological outcomes are important to stakeholders?

While being created specifically to address management challenges in He'eia, we expect that this framework can be utilized more broadly in the context of agro-ecological restoration in the Pacific and beyond.

Supported by: National Science Foundation


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