Video Story: Rebuilding the Mauna Lei of HaleakalāPosted on Nov 22, 2019
Hawaiian forest trees evolved to collect moisture from clouds touching their leaves, condensing and dripping water down to the soil even on days without rain. On the leeward slopes of Haleakalā, mesic forests of koa and ʻōhiʻa once grew at the same elevations where clouds banked against and around the mountain each day, encircling it in a lei of green. Alien grasses break the localized water-cycling, and today, the lei is broken. Only 5% of native leeward forests remain.
Hawaiʻi DLNR, Division of Forestry and Wildlife and partners have been working to return the leeward side of Haleakala to native forests, to provide habitat for native birds and protect reefs from erosion.