The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is planning a new fence to protect the Manuka Natural Area Reserve from hoofed animals.
The 22-mile fence will encompass about 24,000 acres, almost the entire reserve, and will run from sea level to 5,500 feet.
The Board of Land and Natural Resources gave approval for the project Aug. 23; Construction is expected to begin next year and finish in 2016.
The reserve, in South Kona, contains the largest contiguous tract of native dryland forest in the state, according to DLNR.
It also includes habitat for eight native bird species and two native mammals. Additionally, its coast provides breeding and nesting habitat for three turtle species.
The project is part of the department’s “The Rain Follows the Forest” plan to protect water resources.
Ungulates, or hoofed animals, are considered harmful for the native ecosystem.
Animal control, which includes hunting, will be used to remove ungulates from the forest.
A cost estimate for the fence wasn’t immediately available.