Project Collaborators, Advisors, Coordinator

Many traditional Pacific island crops such as taro provide food for local consumption as well as potentially high-value commercial products. Above, taro in Hanalei Valley.


Dr. J. B. Friday

UH Extension Specialist in Forestry, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, CTAHR, University of Hawai'i, Hilo. He works with landowners, tree farmers, and professional foresters throughout the state on management of both native forests and tree farms. His particular interests are in restoration of native forests, silviculture of koa, agroforestry, and management of high value plantation timber species.

John H. (Bart) Lawrence

Asst. Director for Operations, Pacific Islands-West with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Guam office. He provides support and assistance to Pacific Basin NRCS Field Offices regarding natural resource-related issues and conservation projects. His responsibilities also include providing Conservation Technical leadership and direction in developing conservation technical materials for the U.S.-affiliated NRCS Field Office Technical Guides.

Dr. Roger Leakey 

Professor of Agroecology and Director of the Agroforestry and Novel Crops Unit, School of Tropical Biology, James Cook University in the wet tropics of Queensland, Australia. Between 1993-97 he was Director of Research at ICRAF (formerly the World Agroforestry Centre). He has undertaken studies on tree domestication, genetic improvement of tropical trees, agroforestry in dry and moist tropics, soil microbiology, vegetative propagation, with research projects in Kenya, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Namibia, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands. Since 1982, he has undertaken consultancies for ODA, World Bank, European Development Fund, FAO and ACIAR, in Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Japan, Philippines, India, Bolivia, Costa Rica, ten countries of West Africa, and Australia.

Dr. Diane Ragone

Director of the Breadfruit Institute at the National Tropical Botanical Garden on Kaua'i. Her research interests include documenting the history and status of economic plant introductions and crop plant collections in the Pacific islands. Dr. Ragone has worked extensively throughout Oceania for more than 20 years to collect cultivars of important crops and document their traditional uses and related cultural practices. She is developing the Breadfruit Institute as an international center to conserve breadfruit diversity and traditional knowledge and to promote its use for nutrition, income, and environmental protection.

Noni expert Dr. Scot Nelson examines trees at Sweet Spirit Farms, Hawai'i. Noni is a model high-value crop that is native to certain Pacific islands and was introduced centuries ago by indigenous peoples throughout the Pacific.


Rogerene (Kali) Arce 

An extension agent with the University of Hawai'i at Manoa Department of Tropical Plant and Soil Sciences, Moloka'i Extension Office. She has worked extensively with farmers to improve on-farm income generation, particularly with Hawaiian Homesteaders.

Nicklos (Nick) Dudley

Forester at Hawai'i Agriculture Research Center (HARC) in Aiea, O'ahu. He specializes in silviculture, selection and breeding, and seed production.

Robert J. Joy

Plant Materials Specialist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Ho'olehua, Moloka'i. He provides technical guidance in the use of plant materials and is responsible for carrying out systematic selection, evaluation, and improvement of plants used in soil and water conservation in the Pacific.

Kelly Lange

Educational Program Director and Certification Coordinator for the Hawai'i Organic Farmers Association in Hilo, Hawai'i. She works directly with the 200+ certified organic farms in Hawai'i and coordinates workshops.

Ken Love 

A specialist in tropical fruit cultivation and marketing, in Kona, Hawai'i. He currently promotes farm product diversification programs based on seasonality in order to spread the need for labor.

Dr. Mari Marutani

Professor of Horticulture, University of Guam. She specializes in germplasm improvement, conservation of native species, and agroecology.

Dr. Scot C. Nelson 

A plant pathologist with the University of Hawai'i at Manoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, based in Hilo, Hawai'i. Scot works with diseases of tropical crops and fruits as well as a wide variety of native plants.

Dr. William Raynor 

Director of the The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Micronesia Program, based in Pohnpei. He oversees the TNC conservation programs in five Pacific island nations.

Dr. Francis Zee 

Supervisory Research Horticulturist at the USDA Agricultural Research Service, Hilo, Hawai'i. His responsibilities are to collect, identify, evaluate, maintain, utilize, preserve, and distribute important clonal germplasm for designated tropical fruit, nut, beverage, and ornamental crops.

High-value crops such as tea may capture unique markets by being grown in pristine Pacific island environments. Eva Lee displays a bottle of tea syrup, one of many specialty products that extend tea products into new markets.


Craig Elevitch

Director of Permanent Agriculture Resources and Project Coordinator, responsible for all aspects of planning, coordination, and logistics. Since 1989, he has worked in agroforestry design, management, and education. His projects focus on multipurpose trees that have economic, environmental, and cultural significance. He also directs Agroforestry Net, a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to empowering people in agroforestry and ecological resource management. The organization's internationally recognized publications have guided thousands of readers in developing agroforestry systems, ecological restoration, and reforestation on farms, ranches, homegardens, and conservation areas. Publications include Agroforestry Guides for Pacific Islands (2000), Growing Koa: A Hawaiian Legacy Tree (2003), Traditional Trees of Pacific Islands: Their Culture, Environment, and Use (2006), Noni: The Complete Guide for Consumers and Growers (2006), and Pathways to Abundant Gardens: A Pictorial Guide to Successful Organic Growing (2007).