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Volume 22, Number 9 -- March 2012

Nature Conservancy Plans to Purchase, Restore Mauka Acreage of Kuka`iau Ranch

Immediately above the land that Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods is proposing for its koa plantation, just across rutted Mana Road, lies a 4,469-acre tract. At its lower elevations (starting at 5,200 feet), the landscape bears the scars inflicted by more than a century of grazing. The once-forested pasture has a few koa snags, wider than tall. A cabin and kitchen house for cowboys, an FM tower and repeater station, and three cellular towers are sprinkled among the water catchments, troughs, and other ranching relics.

At its upper end, close to 8,400 feet above sea level, about 2,000 acres are within designated critical habitat for the palila (Loxiodes bailleui), one of the most endangered native Hawaiian birds. The mamane forests essential to the palila’s survival have been badly hit by grazing and browsing animals, but, under a plan proposed by The Nature Conservancy of Hawai`i, the potential palila habitat will be fenced, feral animals removed, and trees planted.

P.T.


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Article Keywords

environment hawaii nature conservancy hawaii TNCH kukaiau ranch legacy land conservation commission palila david deluz hawaiian legcy hardwoods john henshaw
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