Waiea Natural Area Reserve
TMK: (3) 8-6:001:003
Waiea Natural Area Reserve is on the western flank of Mauna Loa in the district of South Kona. Forests within Waiea are dominated by native koa and ʻōhiʻa, which provide excellent habitat for native forest birds. ʻAlalā, the endangered Hawaiian crow, was last seen in the wild at Waiea. While surveys of rare species have not been completed, adjacent lands have populations of federally listed ‘alawī and ‘i‘iwi forest birds.
Waiea is unique because it has distinct seasonality compared to other forests in the Natural Area Reserve system: it evolved under a summer wet season, while most wet forests in Hawaiʻi evolved with a winter wet season. Geologically, this area is composed of Ka‘ū basalt ranging from various flows between 750-5,000 years old.
DLNR conducted a cultural study for the Kīpahoehoe Natural Area Reserve and adjacent lands, which lie at approximately the same elevational gradient around 10 miles south of Waiea. While pre-contact use of these lands were believed to be concentrated near the coastlines, the uplands may have been used for harvest of koa logs and birds for feathers.
None. While Natural Area Reserves are generally open to everyone for hiking and nature study, this area is currently landlocked by adjacent private land, so currently there is no access to this area.
Native Plants and Animals
The following are examples of species that may be associated with this site. This is not intended to be a comprehensive species inventory.