New Study Explores Recent Trends in Hawaiʻi’s Agriculture, Energy, and Natural Resource Management Sectors – January 2016


* Report Explores Recent Trends and Opportunities Within
Hawai’i’s Agriculture, Energy, and Natural Resource Management Sectors *

HONOLULU, HAWAIʻI (February 11, 2016) – A University of Hawaiʻi Economic Research Organization (UHERO) follow-up study released today by Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation and The Nature Conservancy indicates economic growth in three sectors that are key to Hawaiʻi’s sustainability future: Agriculture, Energy and Natural Resource Management. The report also highlights opportunities to strengthen Hawaiʻi’s economy and sustainability at the same time.

An update to the 2012 “Foundations for Hawaiʻi’s Green Economy: Economic Trends in Hawaiʻi Agriculture, Energy, and Natural Resource Management,” the study used a combination of economic data previously collected about Hawaiʻi’s natural resource management sector and an online survey of organizations engaged in natural resource management in Hawaiʻi. UHERO explored four economic indicators: employment, average salaries, total expenditures and share of State Gross Domestic Product.

Among the key findings:

  • Hawaiʻi’s Natural Resource Management sector currently provides at least 3,543 jobs, an eight percent increase from what was reported in 2012.
  • Hawaiʻi’s Natural Resource Management sector spends at least $541 million, roughly 16 percent higher than expenditures reported in 2012.
  • Hawaiʻi agriculture expenditures were $684 million in 2012, up from $530 million in 2010. The number of farms decreased from 7,500 in 2007 to 7,000 in 2012, but the average farm production expenses per acre increased over the same period, from $499 to $606.
  • Hawaiʻi’s energy sector continues its steady expansion, supporting the Natural Resource Management and agricultural sectors, as well as the rest of Hawaiʻi’s economy.

“Natural resources are a key component of Hawaiʻi’s culture and economy, but not a lot of research has been done to quantify trends in the sector,” said Mark Fox, External Affairs Director of The Nature Conservancy’s Hawaiʻi Program.

“The UHERO study is changing that, providing much needed information about the economic indicators that are necessary to track public and private investment in caring for Hawaiʻi’s precious environment, as well as to inform an integrated policymaking approach.”

The report’s findings can be used to educate policy and decision-makers of the current contribution and future potential of these sectors. Among the opportunities presented are the development or expansion of local training and education programs to match anticipated “green job” growth; the inclusion of appropriate economic indicators for the natural resource management sector in economic reports prepared by the State and other government agencies; and the investment in valuation of the State’s natural capital to help others understand their value and make appropriate investments in maintaining or improving the State’s natural resource assets.

Additionally, the report encouraged the pursuit of the most desirable college majors for natural resource management careers: natural resource management, biology, environmental studies, ecology and botany.

“The UHERO report provides great value not only to Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation but also to our Partners in helping to inform our efforts to support Hawaiʻi’s youth in becoming the next generation of environmental resource professionals in Hawaiʻi,” said Janis Reischmann, Executive Director of Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation. “With this follow-up report, we’re getting a clearer picture of the Natural Resource Management sector, its current economic impact and future opportunities, which will allow us to further develop this sector’s workforce for Hawaiʻi’s future.”

Read the report:

UHERO 2016 Green Economy – Final Report

UHERO 2016 Green Economy – Presentation