Lāna‘i Culture and Heritage Center restores Kānepu‘u, drylands forest
Hawai‘i’s largest native dryland forest got a boost over the weekend thanks to the Lāna‘i Culture and Heritage Center and community volunteers.
Volunteers worked together to plant native Hawaiian plants to protect the area known as Kānepu‘u. Volunteers also improved the self-guided walking trail and out-planted 50 native plants donated by Pūlama Lānaʻi, which included naio, keahi, and kōlea.
For years, the dryland forest has served as home to native lama (ebony), olopua (olive), and nā‘ū (gardenia). Forest threats have included introduced animals, invasive weeds and soil erosion, making the preservation of Kānepu‘u a growing challenge.
Dryland forests are the most endangered ecosystem in Hawai’i, according to the Hawaiʻi State Department of Land and Natural Resources. Only 2% remain, yet are home to 40% of all native land plants, insects, spiders, snails, birds, even Hawaiʻi’s native bat.