Manager Climate Corps
Pacific Islands Climate Science Center

Can albizia mulch be used on agricultural land to replace fertilizer, improve agroecosystem functioning, and provide climate change mitigation and resilience?

Albizia being mulched by hipper
A chipper mulches invasive albezia to be utilized as an alternative to industrial fertilizers. Photo Credit: Joanna Norton, UH Hilo

Project Summary: This project will investigate the potential benefits of composted albizia (Falcataria moluccana) mulch applied to agricultural land in East Hawaiʻi. The biomass from this fast-growing, nitrogen-fixing tree contains a large amount of carbon and nitrogen. A management approach that takes unwanted biomass from albizia trees and applies it to cropland could yield a net environmental and/or economic benefit compared with status quo farming practices, while stimulating albizia removal efforts. If this approach is found to be economically viable, climate change mitigation and/or resilience could be a byproduct of agricultural activities.

Primary Contact

Faculty Advisor

  • Rebecca Ostertag, Associate Professor of Biology, University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo

Committee Members

  • Bruce Mathews, Professor of Soil Science, University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
  • Flint Hughes, Ecosystem Ecologist, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, US Forest Service

Masters Student

  • Joanna Norton


  • Springer Kaye, Big Island Invasive Species Committee

Project Start Date: August 2016

farmers planting cassava
MCC Graduate Student Joanna Norton and Oʻahu Farmers planting cassava in a field prepared with wood mulch compost. Photo Credit: Joanna Norton, UH Hilo

Project Information

Progress Report (November 2017)

Project in the News

UH Hilo Stories article

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Partner Agencies

Pacific Islands Climate Science CenterUH ManoaUniversity of GuamDepartment of the Interior


Contact MCC Staff

  • Sharon Ziegler-Chong: Project Coordinator
  • Phone: (808) 933-0759
  • Email: ziegler@hawaii.edu

  • Scott Laursen: Technical Projects Specialist
  • Phone: (307) 699-0123
  • Email: slaursen@hawaii.edu

The MCC partners with the Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science Graduate Program at UH Hilo and is a part of the larger tri-university consortium of the Pacific Islands Climate Science Center (PI-CSC).