Native koa trees, Kona Hema Preserve, Hawai`i Island.
Kona Hema Preserve Native koa trees, Kona Hema Preserve, Hawai`i Island. © PhotoRobert J. Shallenberger

Places We Protect

Kona Hema Preserve

Island of Hawai‘i

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

Overview

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 and working with the U.S. Forest Service's Institute of Pacific Forestry to conduct research on the potential for sustainable koa forestry in the region. If successful at Kona Hema, sustainable koa forestry could serve as a model for balancing economic land uses with environmental protection along the Kona Coast.