(KAHULUI, MAUI) – The Nakula Natural Area Reserve (NAR) on the Leeward slopes of Maui’s Haleakala covers 1500 acres and spans elevations from 3600-9200 feet above sea level. The Nakula NAR was established in 2011 and is adjacent to the Kahikinui Forest Reserve. Both are components of the Leeward Haleakala Watershed Restoration Partnership (LHWRP).
The DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) has just released a draft management plan for the Nakula NAR which will help guide restoration and management activities there for the foreseeable future. 19 months ago plantings of native trees in order to restore the native forests in the Nakula NAR began in earnest. Dr. Fern Duvall, Native Ecosystems Protection & Management (NEPM) – Maui Nui Program Manager for DOFAW said, “This has been an incredible partnership, with support from Hawaii Youth Conservation Corps-KUPU, Big Island NEMP staff, and Windward Aviation assisting our staff. So far they’ve planted more than 40,000 native plants into grasslands and erosion scars. This includes nearly 14,000 koa, more than 14,000 aalii, 4100 ohia lehua, and other native species. The plantings have covered 57 acres.”
Monitoring of one year survival of Nakula plantings has shown a survival rate of greater than 80 percent. Invasive plants are also being controlled in the reserve by NEPM and LHWRP staff. 700 acres of the reserve are now free of invasive animals and are recovering.
Additionally the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project staff has been planting natives to try and fill in existing gaps in forest canopy corridors that run along deep gulches and in erosion scars. This effort is targeted at restoring forage and nectar species for the Maui parrotbill (kiwikiu), with the intent of reintroducing this endangered bird to the area in the coming years.
According to DLNR Chair Suzanne Case, “The intent of projects like those happening in the Nakula NAR is to remove invasive plants and animals and then to restore the area to its natural habitat. Each step toward this goal is a critical one in restoring Hawaii’s native natural resources. Native plants play an important role in protecting our watersheds and in providing foraging and nesting habitat for a wide-variety of native animals like the Maui parrotbill.”
The just released draft management plan provides further detail on recommendations for continuing restoration work in the Nakula NAR. DOFAW is seeking public input and comments on the draft management plan. This plan is part of a series of site-specific plans to be prepared by DOFAW for Natural Area Reserves throughout the State. Generally, management plans include a brief history of the area, a description of cultural and natural resources and threats to those resources, as well as proposed management actions. The management plan approval process includes review and approval by DOFAW staff, partner agency and public consultation, and finally approval by the Board of Land and Natural Resources. DLNR encourages interested people to review the plan and provide their comments by October 2, 2015.
Nakula Natural Area Reserve Draft Management Plan:
HD aerial video of Nakula NAR:
Photographs of Nakula NAR
Video news release:
Senior Communications Manager
Office of the Chair
Hawaii Department of Land & Natural Resources
1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 130
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813