Located high above the coastline resorts in the West Maui mountains, Kapunakea Preserve is home to an astonishing variety of natural community types and many of the plants that were indispensable to everyday life in ancient Hawai`i.
The preserve climbs from almost dry lowland forest at 1,600 feet to wet forests and montane bogs at 5,400 feet. Within this range are 11 different natural communities and 24 rare plant species, including the spectacular West Maui silversword (`ahinahina) and the delicate Maui bog violet.
Within the West Maui Mountains
Due to its rugged location, access to the preserve is by permit only and is generally limited to researchers.
What to See: Plants
These diverse communities are home to 24 species of rare plants, including four that are listed as endangered, and the only known kauila tree of its kind on Maui.
What to See: Animals
Four species of rare land snails live within the preserve. Kapunakea is also habitat for native bird species, such as the crimson `apapane, the vermillion `i`iwi, the yellow and green `amakihi, and the ghost-like pueo (Hawaiian owl).
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
The preserve is an integral part of a contiguous, managed watershed that provides water to area residents, farms and businesses and provides essential habitat for 24 species of rare and endangered plants.
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
Kapunakea Preserve was established in 1992 when Amfac/JMB Hawai`i Inc. granted The Nature Conservancy a perpetual conservation easement over the area. It is managed in partnership with the State Department of Land & Natural Resources through the Natural Area Partnership Program.
Kapunakea Preserve is part of the West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership.