Our Mission

To enhance and promote a forest stewardship ethic that embraces biocultural restoration and conservation strategies through integration of traditional and western knowledge and through strategic cooperation among private and public organizations.

biocultural stewardship

Fostering Sacred Stewardship: Merging Ancestral Wisdom with Contemporary Endeavors

To support partnerships dedicated to stewardship of biocultural resources. The Foundation seeks to enhance partnership driven efforts that bridge multiple knowledge systems in the implementation of a sacredness ethic in resource management. This approach is based on principles of Aloha ‘Āina and Malama ‘Āina, and integrates peer-reviewed science, ancestral wisdom, and contemporary traditional knowledge.

AFTF staff with Sen. Akaka

Nurturing Biocultural Stewardship: Bridging Ecosystems, Traditions, and Livelihoods

The Akaka Foundation for Tropical Forest's mission addresses the interdependence of thriving ecosystems, cultural practice, and sustainable livelihood, and is grounded in the Hawaiian cultural perspective that place-based relationships enhance stewardship of all features on land and ocean. This mission encourages active public participation by integrating multiple knowledge systems and expanding the dialogue between various stakeholders in biocultural stewardship efforts. We work from the perspective that all places, whether protected, inhabited, or managed, are integral to the health of the whole. This frame of reference shapes the three components of our work.

koa canoe and koa tree

Biocultural Abundance: Enriching Ecosystems and Cultures through Ethical Livelihoods

To create sustainable, bioculturally based economic opportunities at all levels that support both native ecosystems and Hawaiian culture. We will support economic development efforts that create biocultural abundance. Creating abundance is critical to both biodiversity and cultural goals, but also the need for ethical and fulfilling livelihood opportunities in resource management.

biocultural education

Cultivating Future Stewards: Nurturing Biocultural Appreciation and Restoration from Seed to Tree

To increase knowledge of and passion for biocultural resource management among Hawaii’s youth, and support the next generation of biocultural stewards. The Foundation supports K-12 educational efforts that engage youth in biocultural restoration of tropical landscapes, ethnobotany, native seed collection, and propagation of native and cultural keystone species. By supporting these educational activities, the Foundation is helping youth understand and complete the restoration cycle — from seed to tree.