The Canoe Begins In The Forest

The mild temperatures, abundant rain fall and rich soils make the Hawaiian Islands exceptionally inviting   for plants and animals. However, being more than 2,000 miles away from any other land mass, required that any form of life making it to these islands had to fly or float over the ocean to get here. Up until the arrival of man, only a small number of colonizers succeeded in establishing a foot  hold.  Over a period of  five million years, these early indigenous plants and animals evolved into a multitude of different endemic species. In  this isolated but balanced world, these species developed a very interdependent and interrelated life cycle. Competition was limited and interdependence promoted survival.   



Indiginious and Endemic Plants Used In The Construction Of The Hawaiian Canoe


Introduced Canoe Plants

The early Polynesian settlers brought with them plants and animals that were critical to their survival. These introduced plants and animals along with the clearing of the native forest and wetlands for agriculture, greatly changed the landscape.  Archaeological records indicate that many endemic species became extinct soon after the arrival of these first settlers. The descendants of these settlers however realized that they too would have to fit into the cooperative life cycle of these islands if they were to survive. They too would have to become interdependent with the other species that lived on and around these islands. It was through this process of becoming interdependent and inter-related that these settlers became Hawaiian.

Settlers Become Hawaiian

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