The native species of Kohala are truly unique: some of the plants and animals in our native forests are endemic to Kohala, which means they are found nowhere else on earth. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), montane cloud forests like those found on the summit of Kohala are globally rare, and contain a disproportionately large number of the world’s rare and endemic species.
Degradation of native flora in the watershed can result in loose, bare soil. Every time it rains, some of that soil washes downstream and ends up on coral reef. High sediment burdens create unhealthy coral, which in turn stresses the entire reef ecosystem. By restoring native forests, controlling feral goats, and installing sediment check dams and erosion control fabric, we are reducing erosion and sediment runoff while also healing the land.
Across Kohala Mountain, forests are collecting and storing the rainwater that feeds native life and supports human communities. We proactively protect and restore native forests by building fences, controlling feral animals and invasive plants, and planting native species, ensuring these life-giving ecosystem services will continue into the distant future.
Invasive Species Management
Hawaiʻi is in the midst of an alien species invasion that threatens our islands’ environment, economy, and quality of life. Non-native plants such as miconia grow out of control, producing millions of seeds per tree every year, and threaten to overtake our natural areas and watersheds. Our goal in invasive species management on Kohala Mountain is to (1) identify the non-native organisms that have the greatest potential to alter the ecosystem functions of our forest, (2) prioritize species for control and areas to protect, and (3) implement a suite of biological, chemical, and mechanical control methods to reduce the impact of invasive species on the watershed.
We want to develop in our community’s adults and children an ethic of stewardship for our natural resources by engaging their minds through natural science, and touching their hearts with the power and beauty of nature. We collaborate with teachers to address a range of science topics that meet state educational standards, and also provide opportunities for environmental service.
People are an integral part of the watersheds of Kohala Mountain, and KWP’s goal is to engage the community in mālama ʻāina, caring for the land, our source of water and life. Our Volunteer Days engage children and adults in hands-on conservation activities, including native tree planting, invasive plant removal, building trails and collecting native seeds.