Keau’ohana Native Rainforest Restoration
Puna Rainforest Video
Keau‘ohana Native Forest Reserve in the Puna District of Hawai‘i Island is the largest and most intact lowland wet forest remaining below 1,000 feet in elevation in the State of Hawai’i. This forest is a unique reservoir of rare native biodiversity, and is also the most optimal remaining critical habitat for the endangered ha‘iwale.
Since 2014, the Keau’ohana Forest Reserve has undergone an intensive restoration process that eliminated invasive species on >30 acres of the most bio-diverse portion of the reserve down-slope of Highway 130. Although mature invasive plants are currently eliminated from the area, there are of course numerous invasive species’ seedlings sprouting up which threaten the future of the forest. The Keau’ohana crew is currently undergoing the third pass of all >30 acres in order to eliminate re-growth before invasive species attain maturity. Being persistent at this juncture, will greatly diminish the seed bank and help perpetuate native regeneration.
The project’s intensive restoration efforts have been supported by a State Grant (G-I-A) and the contracting agency [DLNR-DOFAW] through appropriations made by the Legislature of the State of Hawaii. County Contingency funds have also been awarded. Generous donations by community members, and community businesses such as Island Natural’s also greatly support this project.
Project principal and MOP board member, Jaya C. Dupuis /MS, has since 1989 immersed herself in the natural world of subsistence farming and the study and restoration of native rainforests of Hawai‘i. Jaya’s mission also involves community outreach and education of critical lowland vegetation issues. Through this work, she wishes to inspire the appreciation and re-integration of native species into Hawai‘i’s lowland environment for esthetic and historical purposes, as well as to support the control of invasive species that threaten native forest integrity and the general lowland environment.