Maui koa forest becomes 20th Natural Reserve Area - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Maui koa forest becomes 20th Natural Reserve Area

High elevation forest in Nakula, Hawaii's 20th Natural Area Reserve. High elevation forest in Nakula, Hawaii's 20th Natural Area Reserve.

KAHIKINUI, Maui (HawaiiNewsNow) - A koa forest perched in the leeward slopes of Haleakala is now the 20th Natural Area Reserve designated in Hawaii.

According to the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the 1,500-acre Nakula NAR will preserve the remains of native forest that once covered 40,000 acres across the southern flank area of Haleakala.

Officials say almost 90 percent of that forest is gone as a result of the trampling and grazing of cattle, goats, pigs, deer, invasive alien plants and logging.

"The protection of the plants and animals of Nakula sustains the life of the wao akua (realm of the gods) of the misty upland forests, and important native Hawaiian cultural resources such as the ancient koa and 'ohi'a trees. The seedbank of the ancient forest remains in the Nakula NAR, and with protection from threats, the forest can be restored," says William Aila, Jr., DLNR Chairperson.

DLNR says the Nakula forest has great potential for natural regeneration.

For more information on the state's NAR System, visit http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/dofar/nars.

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