According to the Hawaiian arborist Steve Nimz, the Lahaina Banyan tree has a chance of survival with triage." The fallen pitch pine was never given such a chance.
Written by Mindy Block, Quality Parks Founder & President
I didn't think we'd get wildfire smoke like LA, then came the Canadian wildfires. I didn't thin we'd ever experience a western fire, then we had the 1999 wildfire season. And I never thought a whole village would be destroyed, and now there is Lahaina (and Paradise, Oregon, in 2018). My area of focus in on post rehab. A background, there was a recent fire at the Calverton Ponds Preserve in June, 2023. Lack of rain set up a fire situation where bulldozers created fire breaks. The following month I arrived on the scene dismayed. There is still no procedure in place to restore from dozer lines.
The Banyan Tree is of cultural importance , being the enlightenment tree of Buddha, as well as gifted to the Lahaina community 150 years ago from India.
Photo by Fallon Michael
Post fire, the Lahaina Banyan Tree (as explained by Steve Nimz) takes second place to protecting life and property, as is also true in the LI Pine Barrens. However, their fire rehab response, what he calls "triage," is much more advanced. His group is monitoring, watering, aerating the soils to break up compaction, adding micronutrient rich compost tea for new root growth encouragement, and layering compost mulch as blanket for exposed soils. As long as the inner cambium layer is alive and sap is flowing the tree is surviving. It's in a coma he says; come back to me in three to six months for a report.
The pitch pine is symbol of the Long Island Pine Barrens, our aquifer, our wilderness, and within is the Calverton Ponds Preserve especially rare and fragile.
As for Long Island? Nothing is being done: one month out since the Calverton Ponds Preserve Fire (see photos below).
Learn more about differences between fire impacts and natural fire effects, by reviewing the section on geology and plant communities in Wildlife of Long Island.
Mindy Block, President & Founder
Fred Edel, Co-Chair
Quality Parks is a professional organization sponsoring projects to improve both business and environmental conditions by balancing social, economic and environmental concerns. We disseminate information, develop and provide experiential learning opportunities, and support efforts designed to stimulate, encourage, educate, and involve the general public in natural resource stewardship practices. We are a federally registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, since 2000, based in Port Jefferson, on Long Island, New York
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