Executive Summary

The Tropical Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center is a collaborative research, development, extension, and education center for tropical hardwood stewardship.

Problem Statement
Tropical tree improvement and regeneration lags behind that of temperate regions, despite the global importance of tropical biodiversity, tropical timber production, and the growing need for large-scale approaches to restoration. We need to expand capacity in tropical hardwood tree improvement and regeneration to serve the needs of tropical regions. There are tremendous opportunities for a Hawaii-based tree improvement and regeneration program—for conservation and restoration but also commercial forestry applications. Despite current conditions, opportunities to restore koa forests and the ecosystem services that those forests would provide exist because of decreased economic viability of cattle production; marginal economic viability of low value forestry operations in low elevations; and high ecological, cultural and economic value of restored native forests. Lack of improved cultivars and knowledge of genetics, economic return, and silvicultural practices hinders reforestation of degraded land with native tropical hardwood species.

Vision Statement
Tropical HTIRC is the recognized leader in collaborative research, development, extension and education for sustainable production and conservation of Pacific Island hardwood tree species.

To advance the science and application of tree improvement, management, and protection to improve tropical hardwood forests, with emphasis on the Hawaiian Islands.


  • Create and disseminate knowledge on Pacific islands hardwood tree breeding and silviculture
  • Breed improved tropical hardwood tree lines with increased pest/disease resistance, growth rates, form, and wood quality for restoration and commercial production
  • Design improved systems for nursery production, plantation establishment, and the deployment of new materials
  • Develop strategies for conservation, restoration, utilization, and marketing of tropical hardwood resources
  • Develop extension and education programs to train consultant and industrial foresters, nursery practitioners, conservation biologists, and public and private landowners
  • Provide technical assistance to the private sector for developing improved Pacific islands hardwood germplasm