Koa and `ōhi`a in a mesic pasture at Kahuku with dense Kikuyu grass

Kahuku Restoration Plan

Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park » Kahuku Restoration Plan » Document List

Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park is starting to formally plan how to restore the cattle pastures at Kahuku back to native forest or woodland. An important mission of the National Park Service is to restore disturbed national park lands such as cattle pastures. We would like to seek your comments as we prepare a Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment.

The 131,000 acre Kahuku property became part of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park in 2003. Cattle grazing, mechanical clearing, and pasture grass planting limit natural recovery. These resulted in the loss of local seed sources and dense mats of pasture grass inhibiting native plant seed germination and recovery. Intensive restoration efforts will be needed to reintroduce sources of seeds and suppress pasture grasses. In four fenced exclosures constructed in 2005, park resource managers determined that stimulating koa germination has the potential to suppress grass and facilitate restoration. Additional restoration experiments need to be conducted to determine effective techniques applicable to a large landscape such as the 7,400 acre pasture area.

Restoration of the pastures will take many decades and the park is now embarking on the first phase of restoration in which techniques we tested on a very small scale from 2005-2011 will be refined and applied to the larger landscape. In addition, new techniques to facilitate forest recovery will be tested. The public is invited to comment on the park's intent to develop a Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment for the Kahuku pastures.

Contact Information

Sierra McDaniel, Botanist, sierra_mcdaniel@nps.gov