(BIVN) – Crews continue their effort to restore the Keau‘ohana Native Forest Reserve in Puna, said to be the largest and most intact lowland wet forest remaining below 1,000 feet in elevation in the State of Hawai’i.
Volunteer work in the forest was put on hold during the summer eruption of Kīlauea Volcano. In September, after the eruption ended, the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources granted crews permission to re-enter the forest.
In a recent Facebook page post, project coordinators say “the native species thriving since the flow and many of the invasive species loosing their leaves from the SO2 and being in a weakened condition. Also the pigs that were disturbing some of the native plants have fled the area! Woohoo! Pele did some of our work for us while the forest was closed.”
Project coordinators shared a video that they produced to highlight their work. The film was created by Malina Fagan and Jaya Dupuis, and features additional cinematography by Sean Clauson and Clive Cardozo.
This information about the project is found on the Malama O Puna website:
The project’s intensive restoration efforts have been supported by a State Grant (G-I-A) and the contracting agency [DLNR-DOFAW] through appropriations made by the Legislature of the State of Hawaii. County Contingency funds have also been awarded. Generous donations by community members, and community businesses such as Island Natural’s also greatly support this project.
Project principal and MOP board member, Jaya C. Dupuis /MS, has since 1989 immersed herself in the natural world of subsistence farming and the study and restoration of native rainforests of Hawai‘i. Jaya’s mission also involves community outreach and education of critical lowland vegetation issues. Through this work, she wishes to inspire the appreciation and re-integration of native species into Hawai‘i’s lowland environment for esthetic and historical purposes, as well as to support the control of invasive species that threaten native forest integrity and the general lowland environment.
Keau’ohana Native Rainforest Restoration will hold a solstice work party event on Sunday, December 23rd, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Coordinators say parking is located between mile marker 16 and 17 on Highway 130 (between Pāhoa and Kalapana) just above Black Sands subdivision.
“Newcomers are encouraged to arrive at 10 a.m. for orientation,” a Facebook invite says. “Please bring gloves, boots, hat, rain gear, water, snacks, etc. Please consider helping to restore your last remaining native rainforest (below 1,000ft). We will be hand-pulling invasive species and building compost piles. No tools necessary.”