Places We Protect

Kona Hema Preserve

Island of Hawai‘i

Trail leading through forest on a sunny day.
Kona Hema Preserve Native koa trees, Kona Hema Preserve, Hawai‘i Island. © Robert J. Shallenberger

TNC’s 8,089-acre Kona Hema Preserve protects part of an ancient koa-‘ōhi‘a forest.



TNC’s Kona Hema Preserve protects part of an ancient koa-‘ōhi‘a forest that spans more than 100,000 acres along the leeward coast of the Island of Hawai‘i. Here flies the endangered Hawaiian hawk, the Hawaiian hoary bat, and globally unique native songbird species such as the ‘apapane, ‘i‘iwi, ‘elepaio, and ‘amakihi.

Why TNC Selected This Site

Kona Hema Preserve consists of three adjoining forest parcels in South Kona purchased between 1999 and 2003 at Honomalino, Kapu‘a and Pāpā. In addition to protecting the native forests and the biological values they harbor, TNC is developing a model of sustainable koa forestry that will help other landowners maintain the biological and economic value of their lands.

Rare plants, native forests and rare forest birds are part of Kona’s treasured native biodiversity that represent an important yet poorly protected resource. More than a century of logging, grazing, and invasion by weeds and feral animals have threatened the biological viability of this region.

Today pigs, goats and mouflon sheep are the preserve’s primary threats.

What TNC Is Doing

TNC is restoring the area’s native forests through on-the-ground land management. In some areas, we have planted thousands of native trees and shrubs to bring back the lush forest understory. In other areas, native plants grow back robustly when invasive weeds and animals are removed. And in former pastures, we generated a koa forest by uncovering dormant seeds and nurturing their growth. Working with partners, we are bringing back this magnificent koa-‘ōhi‘a forest.


Limited Access

Open for volunteer/educational activities. Email for info.


8,089 acres

Explore our work in Hawai‘i