Postcards from Hawai’i, Part I: Flora and Fauna

A combination of Hawai’i’s isolated geography and unique geological processes, in addition to human influence, is responsible for the Big Island’s incredibly diverse array of flora and fauna. The sheer variety of life on the island, scattered in a remote part of the Pacific Ocean, is stunning.

(photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)
Sea turtle (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)
Orchids (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)

Not all life is endemic to the Big Island; some plants and animals arrived on the island as accidental stowaways or wayward visitors blown off-course over thousands of years, while others were intentional imports during modern times due to human settlement (with sometimes deleterious effects).

Nene, the state bird of Hawai’i (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)
Hibiscus (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)
(photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)

There is a deep sense of personal responsibility to be stewards and caretakers of the environment, a pervasive respect for the natural world that allowed humans to settle and thrive on the Hawai’ian islands. Even today, people honour the Hawai’ian gods and spirits at natural sites, leaving gifts of thanks and offerings of supplication.

An offering near the cave where the goddess Hina lives (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)
(photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)

The types of flora and fauna on the Big Island vary extensively depending on altitude and direction on the island. With 8 of 13 possible climate zones, the Island of Hawai’i has wildlife as varied as its regions.

Flower of the mythical ‘ohi’a tree (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)
Fiddlehead fern (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)
Kona cloud forest (photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)

Sometimes the Island of Hawai’i really does feel like the garden of Paradise- have you been? Would you agree? I’d love to know in a comment or a message!

(photo credit: canuckrunningamuck)

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