The Waikoloa Dry Forest Restoration Project is located just outside of Waikoloa village and encompasses 275 acres of remnant dryland forest. A six foot fence was completed in 2011 and we have successfully excluded feral goats from the project area. This project protects 10 of the 13 uhiuhi trees that occur in the area and about 80 wiliwili trees.
Status: Critically endangered
Distribution: Found on O‘ahu in the Wai‘anae range, and on the island of Hawai‘i, 260- 3000ft. Extinct on Kaua‘i, Lana‘i, and Maui.
Traditional Uses: Wood was used for weaponry, tools and as corner posts in hale construction.
Quick fact: The wood of uhiuhi is so dense that it sinks in water.
Status: None (in decline)
Distribution: Occurs in dry forests on leeward sides of all main islands, sea-level to 2000ft.
Traditional Uses: Wood was used for ama (outrigger) mouo (fish net floats) and surfboards. Seeds are strung for lei.
Quick fact: The wiliwili looses its leaves during the driest season and is one of Hawaii’s few deciduous trees
There are many factors contributing to the loss of native dryland forests in Hawaii. Some of the major threats are wildfire, predation by non-native animals, competition and displacement by invasive species and land development. In Waikoloa Village all of these factors have contributed to the devastation of the dry forest and make restoration challenging.
Reduce the threat of wildfire by creating fuel breaks and buffers-Our fuel break surrounding the project is 100ft wide, we have yet to complete it but are working hard to keep the grass down.
Exclude feral animals- Animals have been excluded from our 275 acre fence and we aim to keep it that way!
Control invasive plant species-Fountain grass is our main invader, we remove non-native grasses from out-planting sites and around uhiuhi and wiliwili trees. We also target incipient weeds such as ekoa (Leucaena leucocephalaena).
Plant common and rare native plant species-In addition to the common species that are still present in the area, the WDFI is re-introducing 12 threatened and endangered species within the project and a variety of common species that are no longer present in the area. A total of 4 acres and hundreds of individuals have been planted within the project from 2009 to 2011. With the successful exclusion of feral animals planting will be the main focus of the WDFI, we hope to plant at least 5 acres, and over 1000 plants in 2012.
Control rodent and invertebrate pests-We are currently exploring different ways of dealing with invertebrate pests such as the introduction of the predator wasp for controlling the gall wasp that is attacking the wiliwili trees.
Monitor-We regularly assess the health and progress of the wild trees and out-plants. Plant community plots will be set up in early 2012 to test the effects of different management strategies.
Provide educational and experiential opportunities -We are in the second year of our Future Foresters program and have begun hosting other student and adult groups. If you are interested in touring the site or bringing a group to the site please contact us!