Lāna‘i Culture and Heritage Center restores Kānepu‘u, Hawai‘i’s Largest Dryland Forest
March 2023 - Here’s what Lanai’s lovers of land look like. On March 4, 2023 Hawai‘i’s largest native dryland forest got a boost thanks to the Lāna‘i Culture and Heritage Center and volunteers. Fifty native plants were donated by Pūlama Lānaʻi, which included naio, keahi, and kōlea, to protect Kānepu‘u and improve the self-guided walking trail. For years, the dryland forest has served as home to native lama (ebony), olopua (olive), and nā‘ū (gardenia). Forest threats have included introduced animals, invasive weeds and soil erosion, making the preservation of Kānepu‘u a growing challenge.
Dryland forests are the most endangered ecosystem in Hawai'i, according to the Hawai'i State Department of Land & Natural Resources. Only 2 percent of Hawai'i’s dryland forests remain. Yet these areas are home to 40 percent of all native land plants, insects, spiders, snails, birds, even Hawai'i’s native bat.