In order to increase, improve and preserve suitable nesting habitat for the Hawaiian Petrel and Newell’s shearwater, Maui Nui Seabird Recovery Project (MNSRP) engaged in habitat restoration in the Lāna‘ihale watershed. This work benefited native Hawaiian plants, birds, and the watershed which supports the entire community of Lāna‘i.
Removal of Invasive Plants
Strawberry guava and faya tree are two of the worst habitat altering invasive alien weeds in Hawai‛i and on Lāna‘i. They are converting the last remaining native forest, rendering it unsuitable for seabird nesting and dramatically compromising the capacity of the land to capture and move rain fall and fog drip to Lāna‘i’s only aquifer. Both tree species form dense thickets that outcompete and displace native trees such as ‘ohi‘a and alter the soil chemistry. MNSRP staff used Incision Point Application of herbicide method, which involves making small cuts and applying small amounts of herbicide in over 50 acres. MNSRP has used chainsaws and targeted herbicide treatments to clear heavily invaded areas, resulting in the removal of more than six acres of invasive plants in the Lāna‘ihale watershed.
Out-Planting of Native Plants
After removing non-native plants from the six acre restoration site on Lāna‘ihale, MNSRP initiated an out-planting effort in 2010. With the assistance of local community volunteers, off island volunteers, and students, MNSRP has out-planted many native plants such as ‘ohi‘a, koa, hala, ‘akia, alani, ho‘awa, and māmaki. All seeds were collected from the Lāna‘ihale watershed and propagated at MNSRP’s Lāna‛i Native Species Recovery Program facility. Cages were built and placed around plants to prevent predation from browsing ungulates.
Programs that utilize these methods: Lāna‘ihale