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Hawaiian High Islands Ecoregion
This page last revised 31 August 2006 -- S.M.Gon III

Conservation Targets
TNC Action Sites


Maps & Figures
CPT Database

poouli, endangered forest bird
Montane wet forest on the windward slopes of East Maui are the last habitat for the po‘ouli.

lush gulch vegetation, Waikamoi
The East Maui Conservation Area includes large tracts of state-owned forest reserve.

happyface spider
Anuntold number of native invertebrates, such as this Hawaiian happyfacespider, are nested within East Maui's native ecosystems.

Kipahulu Valley, East Maui
The rugged upper slopes of East Maui have never been converted from native forest.

feral pig
Non-native pigs, escaped into the wild, pose a severe threat to native ecosystems.

East Maui Conservation Area Profile

Major Habitat Type: Tropical Moist Forest(Oceania Realm)

Stratification Unit:Maui Nui (comprised of the islands of Maui, Moloka‘i,Kaho‘olawe, and Lāna‘i; of similargeological age and sharing biodiversity via geological history thatcombined all as a single large island during a lower stand of the sea).

Island: Maui; the second largestisland of the archipelago, its oldest volcano (West Maui Mountains orMauna Kahalawai) ca1.3 million years old , East Maui Volcano (Haleakalā) ca750,000years old and considered active (last historical eruption in 1790);maximum elevation of East Maui 3055 m(10,023 ft). Maui has two native-dominated landscapescorresponding to the two volcanic peaks on the island.Maximum elevation of the West Maui Mountains is 1,764 m (5,788 ft) atPu‘u Kukui. Approximately 140,000 human residents.

Significance: The East Maui Conservation Area  is comprised of ecological systems from lowland to alpineelevations. The summit area and undeveloped northeast side maintain high viability systems, are animportant watershed, and contain over 20 native natural communities.  East Maui supports over 530 Hawaiian endemic species of flowering plants, 54 of which are endemic to the island, and about 30 of which are endangered. 

ConservationStatus: The East Maui Conservation Area is protected and managed by acombination of private and public protected areas, including Haleakalā National ParkHanawī StateNatural Area Reserve, The Waikamoi Preserve of The Nature Conservancy, the State Forest ReserveSystem, and the state Conservation District. The East Maui Watershed Partnership,formed in 1991, is comprised of a combination of the above lands withselected lands ownedand/ormanaged by the State Department of Land & Natural Resources; TheNature Conservancy; Maui County Board of Water Supply; Haleakala RanchCo.; East Maui Irrigation Co., Ltd.; Haleakala National Park; HanaRanch; andthe County of Maui, drafted a management plan that implementsfencing, ungulate control, and weed control, ignoring land jurisdictionboundariesand dealing with the major threats. Such actions are included in a discussion of conservation strategies for Maui.

An East Maui Conservation Area Plan is being drafted by The Nature Conservancy and will be completed in 2007.

Montane Wet Forest in Hanawi
Montane Wet Forest, Hanawī Natural Area Reserve, East Maui

Continuous Perennial Stream, East Maui
Hawaiian Continuous Perennial Stream, Hanawī, East Maui

Conservation Targets:

Ecological Systems: Four ecological systems of East Maui were selected as conservationtargets, each bearing nested natural communities and species (discussedbelow). 

System Size Condition LC Overall

Natural Communities:

  • Continuous Perennial Stream Community
Selected stream occurrences: Maui bears manyhigh quality streams, and the four streams selected:  Hanawī, Honokōhau, Kahakuloa, and Ōhe'o Streams are among thelargest and highest quality streams on the island (Hawai‘i Stream As­ses­s­ment 1991). Eachbears a rich complement of native macrofauna and high volume, high qualitywater in a channel with high structural heterogeneity.

Special Ecological Features:

  • Forest Bird Concentration
The East Maui Forest Bird Concentration is one ofthe most significant in the archipelago, bearing ten avian species, including seventaxa endemic to the island, and five endangered species
  • Waterbird Concentration
East Maui is part of the Maui Nui Waterbird Concentration, defined as three core wetlands and at least five of seven supporting wetland sites identified by the USFWSWaterbird Recovery Plan (2005). These include coastal and lowlandsites outside of the ecological system targets.

Nested Targets (Selected examples):

  • Natural Communities:
‘Ōhi‘a/Uluhe Lowland Wet Forest
‘Ōhi‘a/Mixed Shrub Lowland Wet Forest
‘Ōhi‘a/Mixed Shrub Montane Wet Forest
‘Ōhi‘a/‘Ōlapa Montane Wet Forest
‘Ōhi‘a Mixed Lowland Mesic Shrubland
Pleomele Lowland Mesic Forest
Hawaiian Montane Bog
Mixed Fern/Shrub Wet Cliff Community
Mixed Shrub Dry Cliff Community
Montane Piping Cave Community

  • Native species:

There are manyconstituent native species that comprise the natural communities of the ConservationArea. Highlights include over 30 rare/endangered plant species, over 50endemicflowering plant species, and an untold number of endemic invertebrate species likelynumbering in the thousands.

Major Threats:Uncontrolledferal ungulates (primarily pigs, goats, deer); a variety ofinvasivealien plants, including Miconia, Clidemia, and Psidium, and wildfire at lower dry and mesic settings. .
Thenative-dominated ecological systems of East Maui occupy its higherelevation central region, extending downward into areas (pink)converted by historic change into anthropogenic andalien-dominated regions.

East Maui Conservation Area Ecological Systems
The conservationportfolio for East Maui includes the majority of the native-dominatedecological systems (dark green), a significant forest birdconcentration, and two occurrences of the Hawaiian continuous perennialstream natural community (Hanawī and ‘Ohe‘o) shown in light blue. portfolio Maui
A crosssection of the Island of Maui indicates the variety of moistureand elevation conditions present: Alpine and subalpine summit areas areflanked by wet, mesic and dry montane, lowland, and coastal/marine systems. elevation and moisture settings of Maui