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

Albizia Chipper
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

Partner Agencies

Pacific Islands Climate Science Center UH Manoa University of Guam Department of the Interior

Contact MCC Staff:

  • Sharon Ziegler-Chong: Project Coordinator
  • Phone: (808) 933-0759
  • Email:

  • Scott Laursen: Technical Projects Specialist
  • Phone: (307) 699-0123
  • Email:

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).