Since 2013, March 3rd has been recognized as the most important global annual event dedicated to wildlife. Designated by the United Nations General Assembly, World Wildlife Day is not only a celebration of the world’s ecosystems, but most importantly, it’s a call to action to raise awareness of the world’s endangered species and the importance of conservation.
At Bayer, we believe that wildlife conservation is critical to the health and stability of our local ecosystems, and as stewards of the land, we take this responsibility seriously. For more than 50 years, Bayer has implemented many sustainable conservation practices in an effort to create and maintain a flourishing wildlife habitat on all of our farms on Oahu, Maui and Molokai. Some of these conservation practices include:
- Monarch Butterfly Program: As the monarch butterfly population (Danaus plexippus) continues to fluctuate worldwide, Bayer Hawaii has made a commitment to help restore pollinator habitats and support monarch butterfly conservation efforts through education. In 2015, we implemented a program to restore pollinator habitats by planting crown flower, to increase the butterfly’s habitat, which serves as an important food source for the monarch caterpillar. Today, more than 100 thriving crown flower (Calotropis gigantea) plants can be found at our farms on Oahu, Maui and Molokai.
- Native Species Conservation: At our Haleiwa farm, we’ve dedicated a portion of the land to cultivate and protect native species as well as maintain a refuge for pollinators and beneficial insects. There are more than a dozen plant species found at Bayer’s Haleiwa farm, many of which are native to the Hawaiian Islands, including the yellow hibiscus. On Molokai, windbreaks have been planted to reduce wind damage to crops and restore non vegetative lands with native or endangered species, including koa, milo and ohai.
- Soil Conservation: All of Bayer’s Hawaii farms operate under a conservation plan developed in conjunction with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS). The purpose is to manage rain water runoff by constructing vegetative terraces, grassed waterways and sediment basins.
- Sunn Hemp Program: In partnerships with the Oahu Resource & Development Council (RC&D), Bayer’s Kunia and Haleiwa farms have made a commitment to plant sunn hemp (Crotalaria juncea), a widely used species for cover crop, which has proven to improve soil, prevent erosion, conserve soil water, recycle plant nutrients and suppress weed growth.
- Monitoring: Bayer strives to play a role in Hawaii’s efforts to protect endemic species. Bayer supported The Pueo Project at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa by participating in surveys on our Maui and Oahu farms. Bayer also partners with the Hawaii Department of Agriculture to monitor for the Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle, and invasive species that has devastated palm trees on other Pacific Islands.
- Wildlife Habitat Certification: In 2015, Bayer was the first organization in Hawaii to achieve Conservation Certification by the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC), for conservation efforts at its Molokai farm, followed by the Haleiwa and Upper Kunia farms. Bayer’s Upper Kunia and Haleiwa farms recently received 2020 recertification, and all other sites are working toward their recertifications as well.
The Wildlife Habitat Council is a nonprofit group of corporations, conservation organizations, and individuals dedicated to promoting and certifying habitat conservation and management on corporate lands. The certification program is the only voluntary sustainability standard for broad-based biodiversity enhancement and conservation education activities on corporate landholdings. Bayer has been working with the WHC on efforts to improve the wildlife habitats on its farms since 1989.
For 2021, World Wildlife Day will be celebrating with the theme “Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet.” At Bayer, we work all over the world to increase people’s access to health care and food. World Wildlife Day reminds us of our commitment and heightened responsibility to people and the planet.