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Protect. Promote. Restore.

Restoring a forest ecosystem is an ambitious and complex undertaking and it can look different depending on the landscape and the goals of the community. Our goal is to rebuild a self-sustaining, native-dominant forest, and promote native forest conservation through outreach, education, and advocacy.

The Waikōloa Dry Forest Preserve encompasses 275 acres of remnant lowland dry forest and protects some of the last remaining native trees in the region. It is a dry, rugged, and degraded area that is gradually being reforested by the community of native plants that once dominated Waikōloa.

With an average rainfall of only 12 inches, Waikōloa is one of the driest places in Hawai‘i. The substrate is composed of several lava flows that each favor different plant species. These flows include rough ‘a‘a that surrounds kīpuka of older, more developed soil substrates that originate from Mauna Kea. In these areas, we focus on removing weeds and planting native trees, shrubs, and groundcovers. In other parts of the preserve, there are younger pāhoehoe flows that originate from Mauna Loa. This type of substrate makes planting difficult but our large-scale native seeding efforts have been successful in establishing native plants here.

Our key land managment priorities include controlling threats and promoting native species. We do this by:

  • Maintaining fences to exclude feral ungulates from the 275-acre Waikōloa Dry Forest Preserve. We have constructed over 3.5 miles of fencing to protect our native forest and restoration areas.
  • Reducing the threat of wildfire by maintaining firebreaks and vegetation-free buffers around important resources. As of 2019, we maintain 4.5 miles of vegetation-free firebreaks in and around the forest preserve.
  • Removing and controlling invasive plants and pests from restoration areas.
  • Propagating and planting of common and rare native plant species.
  • Collecting and scattering native seeds.
  • Monitoring the health of our wild population of native trees and assessing the effectiveness of our planting and seeding strategies.

The Waikōloa Dry Forest Preserve is an incredible place for people of all ages to learn. You can experience the forest and learn about the past, present and future for our amazing dry forests through guided tours, field trips, and volunteer service. Please, join us!

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