This forest is a unique reservoir of rare native biodiversity, and is the most optimal remaining critical habitat for the endangered ha'iwale, a relative of African violet. The dominant native canopy tree, 'ohi'a, has recently been affected by Rapid Ohia Death (ROD) causing a decline in its numbers and threatening the future of the bio-diverse understory that's in need of shade. The project will help continue to restore and protect the last native lowland (<1,000 feet) rainforest in Hawai'i.
Under the guidance of KNRR, which has conducted intensive restoration in the forest since 2014, FTPF will collect seeds from a number of native tree species, propagate them in our local nursery, and outplant them in the forest. Once the trees are of a viable size and quality, they will be used to reforest the Keau'ohana Native Rainforest. Plantings such as the native 'ohe will help re-establish shade to protect the native plant communities and secure the bio-diverse nature of the forest.
Most lowland forests in Hawai'i have been lost, whereas Keau'ohana has a chance to remain a healthy native forest ecosystem, provide habitat to endangered species, and retain its essential watershed function. As the only intact lowland rainforest easily accessible to the public, this forest serves an important role in connecting people with nature, and educating students, residents and visitors about native Hawaiian species, the rainforest, and issues of preservation.
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Volunteer with FTPF in Hawaii