In his description of Easter Island, Captain James Cook (1777) reports, "... the country appeared quite barren and without wood," and the naturalist G. Forster noted, "... there was not a tree upon the island which exceeded the height of ten feet". That was in 1774, and even today the only large trees to be found have been introduced-primarily eucalyptus and a few dozen coconut palms brought in from Tahiti.
Gurley, Robert E. and Liller, William
"Palm Trees, Mana, and the Moving of the Moai,"
Rapa Nui Journal: Journal of the Easter Island Foundation: Vol. 11
, Article 7.
Available at: https://kahualike.manoa.hawaii.edu/rnj/vol11/iss2/7