The Mauna Kea Forest Reserve
Forest OverviewThe Mauna Kea Forest Reserve is one of twenty two reserves on the big island of Hawaii. The forest sits on the tallest peak on the island, Mauna Kea, a dormant volcano that reaches 13,796 in elevation. In Hawaiian lore, the many peaks of the island were held sacred, being the tallest; Mauna Kea was the most sacred of all. The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources protects more than 50,000 acres of tropical forests on the volcanic slopes of the Reserve.
The Mauna Kea Forest Reserve Needs Our HelpWithin this reserve, the high-altitude Mamane forest sits at elevations ranging from 6,000-9,000 feet on the volcano. Within the sub-alpine forest, especially on the western slope, is a small population of critically endangered birds called the Palila (Loxioides bailleui). Only an estimated 1,200 of these birds remain. More than 90% of the Palila’s diet consists of the green seed from the Mamane tree. The Palila’s dependence on this forest proves the importance of expanding management, protection, and restoration of degraded forest reserve lands.
This spring is a critical step towards maintaining and creating new habitat for the Palila. The goal is to plant 15,000 mamane, aalii, koa, pilo, akoko, and dubautia trees by April, 2011 to ensure the future health of this critical ecosystem.