Endangered forests of Mauna Kea


High above the clouds, the dry forest on the slopes of Mauna Kea is the only home of the critically endangered palila, a species of Hawaiian honeycreeper, or finch. Because of more than 200 years of damage by grazing animals, this mamane and naio forest has been severely degraded — and so, too, has been the palila population that depends on it.

Today, the Mauna Kea Forest Restoration Project (MKFRP) is actively restoring this special forest, with the goal of improving the habitat and preventing extinction of the palila. The MKFRP benefits from a vast network of volunteers who undertake outplanting and seed-scatter projects.

On Monday at 7 p.m. at the Lyman Museum, MKFRP volunteer and outreach coordinator Jackson Bauer will showcase the special biology of this rarely visited forest and its feathered inhabitants, underscoring the importance of volunteer efforts in the management and preservation of a singular ecosystem.

Admission is $3; free for museum members. The nationally accredited and Smithsonian-affiliated Lyman Museum, is at 276 Haili St. in downtown Hilo.

Seating is limited to 65 persons on a first-come, first-seated basis. Additional parking is available at Hilo Union School.

o, is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For additional information, call 935-5021 or visit www.lymanmuseum.org.

 

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