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Kahikinui: Department of Hawaiian Homelands

Kahikinui is a 22,860-acre moku on the south-facing slopes of Haleakalā owned by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) and managed by the resident-based organization Ka ‘Ohana O Kahikinui. The region is home to a native Hawaiian community with a rich history, abundance of native species, cultural resources, archaeological sites, and progressive plans for landscape-level native forests restoration and sustainable homesteading. Uhiwai O Haleakalā's role is to support Kahikinui through cooperative, community-based habitat restoration and experiential learning. Read on to learn more about Uhiwai's involvement with Kahikinui.


 


 

Community-Led Stewardship


The Uhiwai staff rely greatly on the local knowledge of landowners and community members in identifying threats and patterns and developing long-term goals and management strategies. We create opportunities for collaboration and improved communication between private and public entities to develop holistic approaches.


 

Restoration & Regeneration

In areas where natural regeneration is limited by a diminished native seed bank, we plant native seedlings and scatter seed balls to jump-start restoration and increase diversity so that functionality can return to natural cycles. Volunteer opportunities are available to learn and contribute in the field.


 

Rare Species Reintroduction

Some of the rarest species on the planet once called Kahikinui home. Some 34 species that once thrived here are now listed as Endangered. But native birds, plants, bats, and invertebrates can repopulate once forest cover returns as the threats from feral ungulates, rodents, and weeds are minimized.







 

Sustainable Freshwater Capture

A cutting-edge demonstration project to quantify the value of fresh water gathered from the region’s fog and cloud-based hydrologic cycle will provide a consistent, sustainable source of freshwater to this off-grid community, projected to be well beyond what rainfall offers. This project will feed water features to assist with agriculture, restoration, grazing, and emergency fire response that will help to establish and expand number of dip tanks for fire-fighting helicopters in strategic areas.


 

Preserving Unique Species

The upper elevation portions of this vast, 23,000 acre moku extend from nearly 10,000 feet to the ocean. This extreme environment is home to unique species, such as the Hawaiian petrel, silversword, and fascinating invertebrates like the wolf spider. The lower elevation dry forest - reduced to less than 5% of former extents - is just as unique, with numerous endemic, highly valued species that can recover and again be utilized.







 

Fence Checks & Repairs

Fences are consistently threatened by damage from storms, high winds, intermittent streams, vandalism, unmanaged cattle and pigs, and erosion. The Kahikinui fence is over 9 miles long and takes about 3 days to thoroughly inspect and maintain. Our crew ensures the fences protecting precious remnant native habitat remain intact. These fences are utilized as a first and necessary step in native habitat protection to exclude ungulates that did not coevolve with Hawai'i's endemic species and cause disproportionate damage. Fences help prevent deer, goats, pigs, cattle, horses, and other species that are better suited for the pastures surrounding the forest. These animals are then excluded from eating, trampling, uprooting, or barking the native trees and plants in these precious native ecosystems.


 

Past, Present & Future

Kahikinui remains largely untouched by modern influences, with evidence of extensive Hawaiian settlements, agricultural systems, spiritually significant sites, and features used for traditional navigation still visible. The legacy of this wahi pana, or special place, is being honored by the current Hawaiian community and their partners, who remain steadfast and independent in achieving their vision.


 

Please consider donating to our restoration and conservation efforts for Kahikinui.




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