08/05/2022 – NEW DESIGNATED NATURE AREA RESERVE IN SOUTH KONA
Posted on August 5, 2022 in Forestry and wildlife, Press releases, slider
SUZANNE D CASE
For Immediate Release: August 5, 2022
NEW DESIGNATED NATURE AREA RESERVE IN SOUTH KONA
Waiea is the first new reservation established on the island of Hawaii in 35 years
(KONA) – An approximately 1,260-acre parcel in Waiea, Hawai’i Island, has been designated as part of the State Natural Areas Reserve (NAR) system managed by the Division of DLNR Forests and Wildlife (DOFAW).
The Waiea NAR contains moist forests dominated by koa and ‘ōhi’a on the western flank of Mauna Loa in the South Kona District. It is an excellent habitat for birds and rare forest plants. In fact, wild ʻalalā (Hawaiian crow) were last seen in Waiea.
The new reserve is about 1.5 miles mauka (upland) from where Highway 11 (Mamalahoa Hwy) intersects Ho’okena Beach Road. While NAR is generally open for hiking and nature study, this area is currently landlocked by adjoining private land, so there is currently no access.
Waiea is unique because it has a distinct seasonality compared to other forests in the NAR system. It evolved under a wet summer season, while most Hawaiian rainforests evolved with a wet winter season.
The NAR system seeks to keep these forests as intact as possible, preserving the plants and wildlife that have evolved over millennia to become unique to the islands. The protection of these species perpetuates the cultural practices that have evolved with these ancient landscapes.
These native Hawaiian forests absorb rain, providing vital water, while reducing erosion on the beaches and reefs below. NARs enjoy the highest levels of state protection to ensure that current and future generations can continue to experience these incredible places that make Hawaiʻi so unique.
Those interested in learning more and giving back to the NAR system can take an online tour and make donations that will support the planting of native trees or the removal of invasive species like rats or feral goats, which can wipe out the last known individuals of extremely rare species. This support is essential for local conservation work.
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(All images/videos courtesy of DLNR)
Photographs – Waiea Nature Reserve:
Natural Area Reserves History Map and Donation Form: https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/ecosystems/nars/donate/
Senior Communications Manager