Hawaiian tropical dry forests occur on the leeward side of all of the main Hawaiian Islands. They receive fewer than 50 inches of rainfall annually and were once widespread and incredibly diverse. Unfortunately, today there are only fragments of the dryland forests that were once home to a beautiful community of flora and fauna. It is estimated that all but 5% of the native dryland forests of Hawai‘i have been lost. The remnant forests that persist today are still threatened by development, feral ungulates and increased threat of fire due largely to invasive grasses. We feel it is our responsibility to care for what remains and promote a recovery of these unique and valuable forests.
The Waikoloa Dry Forest Preserve is located just southwest of Waikoloa Village and encompasses 275 acres of remnant dryland forest. The preserve is home to several endemic plant species including the wiliwili (Erythrina sandwicensis) and the critically endangered uhiuhi (Mezoneuron kavaiensis). The preserve protects nearly half of the remaining kūpuna (ancesteral) wiliwili of the Waikoloa region and promotes the natural regeneration of the forest and is also the site of large-scale reforestation efforts.
Reduce the threat of wildfire by creating fuel breaks and buffers
Exclude feral animals- Animals have been excluded from our 275 acre fence and we aim to keep it that way!
Removal and 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.
Plant common and rare native plant species-In addition to the common species that are still present in the area, we are re-introducing threatened and endangered species within the project and a variety of common species that were historically present in the area.
Control rodent and invertebrate pests-We are currently exploring different ways of combating invertebrate pests such as the introduction of the predator wasp for controlling the Erythrina gall wasp which has been responsible for the poor health and death of many wiliwili
Monitor-We regularly assess the health and progress of the wild trees and out-plants.
Provide educational and experiential opportunities -We host volunteer days, provide guided tours and lead the Future Foresters program. Come out and experience the forest yourself.
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.
The wood of uhiuhi is so dense that it sinks in water and has very dark, almost black heartwood
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.
The wiliwili looses its leaves during the driest season and is one of Hawaii’s few deciduous trees. It is after the leaves fall that the trees produce beautiful orange blossoms