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2012 Ka‘ahahui o ka Nāhelehele Dryland Symposium

2012_6: Andrea Buckman "Dryland forest restoration at Auwahi, Maui, Hawai'i"

On the east side of the Hawaiian Island of Maui, the dormant, but not yet extinct, Haleakalā volcano rises over 10,000 feet above sea level and that height, combined with the island’s size and age, created a large region of diverse dryland forest on its southern flank. Many biologists have considered these leeward Haleakalā forests to be the richest of Hawaiian terrestrial ecosystems. Unfortunately, the combined impacts of habitat destruction, ungulates, invasive plants, and wildland fires have reduced dryland forest to 5% of its original extent on Maui. Having lost many of the processes that keep a forest alive, Auwahi has become more like a museum than a functioning forest. Until recently, it was believed beyond restoration and destined for extinction. However, with multi-agency cooperation, critical information and technology has been generated that promises to shift the trajectory of this ecosystem toward recovery and long-term conservation. Andrea Buckman, Project Coordinator for the Leeward Haleakalā Watershed Restoration Partnership, describes dryland forest restoration at Auwahi, Maui, and how after over a decade of restoration, 31 of 48 native plant species at Auwahi are reproducing naturally.

This talk was presented at the 2012 Nahelehele Dryland Forest Symposium: "Connections" on February 24th, 2012 in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. The symposium highlight dryland forest ecology and restoration efforts in Hawai‘i.

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