Just agroforestry transitions

Farming and forest systems that integrate trees/shrubs and crops (or other harvested plants or animals), sometimes called agroforestry, include traditional and customary practices of Kanaka ʻŌiwi (Native Hawaiians) and other Indigenous and local communities. Today, these systems are being promoted as solutions for simultaneously achieving food security, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and biocultural restoration. Yet, ensuring that efforts to promote these systems translate to socially just landscape change requires a critical understanding of how these systems are already occurring. We are gathering an understanding of the existing range of forest-agriculture systems present in Hawaiʻi, why people tend these systems, and their challenges to starting and maintaining these systems. For more information, please see our website.


Hastings et al. Who gets to adopt? Contested values constrain just transitions to agroforestry. In Review.

Agroforestry design and management

Together with the local nonprofit Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi and partners from the University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization and the University of Hawaiʻi Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, we established agroforestry research and demonstration plots in the Heʻeia National Estuarine Research Reserve (NERR). We are interested in understanding the costs and social-ecological outcomes of restoration through agroforestry. This project is funded in part by an NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant, a UH Mānoa College of Social Sciences grant, and the Heʻeia NERR.


Hastings et al. 2020. Integrating co-production and trait-based approaches for inclusive and scalable restoration solutions.

Native forest conservation and restoration

Nearly 90% of Hawaiʻi’s plant species are found nowhere else in the world. Climate change, invasive species, development and other threats are contributing to the decline of these endemic and other native plants. In fact, Hawaiʻi contains over 44% of the United States’ endangered and threatened plant species, and is often referred to as the “endangered species capital of the world”. To support conservation efforts, I contribute to several long-term studies investigating the dispersal and recruitment limitations of native tree populations, how forest communities respond to disturbance, and the effectiveness of non-native species removal methods in the mesic forests of Leeward Oʻahu.


Trauernicht et al. 2018. Restoration enhances recovery of a Hawaiian mesic forest after fire.