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The Hawai‘i Wood Utilization Team (HWUT) is a group of experts from various wood-related industries. The team is initiating innovative, cross-sector ideas and projects that expand wood product markets in Hawai‘i. Industries include Forestry, Architecture, Design, Engineering, Wood Products, Construction, Finance, Marketing, and Cultural Practice.

The Hawai‘i Wood Products Directory facilitates the establishment of business connections among the broad array of interests in Hawaii’s wood product sector.  Learn more here.

The HWUT has also sponsored educational activities including a “Timber in Hawai‘i Talk”, “Forest to Frame: Mass Timber from a Hawai‘i Perspective” workshop, and a Wood Kiln Drying Short-course. The HWUT also sponsors the annual “Innovation + Imagination (I+I) Student Challenge”, a component of Hawaii’s Woodshow that challenges students to construct artwork using a mixture of donated Hawai‘i-grown wood and other materials of their choice.


HWUT Jun 2022 E-News

HWUT 2022 Update

HFIA has continued to manage and update the Hawai‘i Wood Utilization Team (HWUT) website at  As of June 2022, there were 293 vendors in the Directory.  Sierra Vaughn, Forest Utilization Coordinator is now coordinating all HWUT activities, including organizing team meetings, social media management, and outreach.  Former Project Leader Joseph Valenti, D. Arch, Assoc. AIA will be working with the Team as Project Specialist.  The HWUT was awarded a 2021 Wood Innovations Grant, which will advance two key projects aimed at expanding the Hawai’i wood products industry.
Project 1 Cross laminated timber (CLT) Demonstration: HWUT is working to implement Hawaii’s first commercial CLT demonstration project and help expedite code adoption by state and local planning departments to allow for future mass timber projects.
Project 2 Preserving Knowledge: To preserve the valuable knowledge of industry experts in Hawai’i, the HWUT is working to generate a technical industry report that will address the challenges of working with local woods.

The Hawai‘i Department of Land & Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry & Wildlife (DOFAW) formed the Hawai‘i Wood Utilization Team, which is comprised of the following representatives:

  • DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife – Philipp LaHaela Walter
  • Albizia Project – Joseph Valenti
  • Hawai‘i Forest Industry Association – Michael Tam
  • Hawai‘i Forest Institute – William Yuen
  • Kuhikuhipuʻuone – Ikaika Bantolina
  • Mana Means Communications – Janet Scheffer
  • UH Kaua‘i Community College – Justin Carvalho
  • Hawaii Lumber Products Association (HLPA) – Scott Loomer
  • UH College of Engineering – Ian Robertson
  • TZ Economics – Paul Brewbaker
  • Kevin Miyamura Architects – Kevin Miyamura

Developing Markets for Hazardous Fuel Wood

Each year, approximately 0.5% of Hawaii’s total land area is burned by wildfire.  More than 25% of the state has been invaded by non-native, fire-prone grasses and shrubs and that percentage grows each time fire burns into a native forest.  As a result, wildfires are increasing in frequency, size, and severity on all islands, which threatens communities, agricultural lands, natural resources, and ecosystem services.

Hawai‘i has over 75,000 acres of timber plantations in need of management and use to reduce the threat of wildfire and reduce post‐fire environmental impacts.  This project will promote the use of hazardous fuel wood, as well as increase the visibility, connectivity, and confidence in Hawai‘i wood products and local manufacturing for commercial building markets.


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