Koa Forest in Hawaii Now Protected
The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) have recently created the Nakula Natural Area Reserve on Maui’s Haleakala Crater. Hawaii’s 20th natural area reserve, Nakula is a 1,500 acre forest filled with koa trees in the lower elevations and ohia trees in its upper boundaries. Nakula is the 5th reserve on Maui, joining ‘Ahihi Kina’u, Kanaio, Hanawi and West Maui. The State of Hawaii owned forest is the remnant of a 40,000 acre forest that has been decimated by cattle ranching and logging. At just 5 percent of its original size, this unique eco-system is home to 20 species of rare plants along with two endangered birds, the Hawaiian hoary bat and the Blackburn’s sphinx moth. Both the koa and ohia trees were important natural and cultural resources to the Native Hawaiians. Koa is the most valuable endemic wood and is by far the priciest wood in Hawaii. The DLNR’s initial work will focus on preventing further forest degradation by fencing the area to keep out pigs, goat and deer. They also plan to add a trail plan to promote hiking and eco-tours within the area. Discover Hawaii Tours operates the Road to Hana tour that winds around the incredible Haleakala Crater daily.