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Hawaiian High Islands Ecoregion
This page last revised 23 August 2006 -- S.M.Gon III

Conservation Targets
TNC Action Sites


Maps & Figures
CPT Database
pueo, Hawaiian owl
The pueo, Hawaiian owl, is a top predator in the lowland dry system.

Halapepe in bloom
Halapepe (Pleomele spp.) is a constiuent species of lowland dry forest.

wiliwili flower
Wiliwili (Erythrina sandwichensis) is a summer-deciduous tree and a dominant canopy species of lowland dry forest.

Lowland Dry System

Natural communities below1,000 m (ca 3,000 ft) elevation, receiving less than50 inches annual precipitation, or otherwise bearing prevailinglydry substrate conditions comprise the lowland dry system in theHawaiian High Islands Ecoregion. This system is found on theislands of Hawai‘i, Moloka‘i, Lāna‘i,Kaho‘olawe, O‘ahu, and Kaua‘i, and is best developedon the leeward sides of the islands, for example, the Kona flankof Mauna Loa, the leeward flank of West Maui, the leeward side ofEast Moloka‘i, the north slopes Lāna‘i andKaho‘olawe, the lower slopes of the Wai‘anae Mountains(O‘ahu), and the leeward slopes of Kaua‘i. It occurstypically below the lowland mesic system. There are a number of naturalcommunities described within this system, including a variety of grasslands, shrublands, and forests. Biologicaldiversity is low to moderate in this system, and specialized plants and animals occur there, such as pueo, the Hawaiian owl (Asio flammeus sandwichensisand the rare Hawaiian tree cotton, hau hele ‘ula (Kokia spp.)

kokia flower
Many plants of the lowland dry system, such as this endemic tree cotton Kokia drynarioides are rare and endangered, threatened by loss of habitat, wildfire, feral ungulates, and invasive weeds.

Natural communities and species of this system are listed among nested targets via the appendices.

The distribution of the Lowland Dry System across the Hawaiian High Islands Ecoregion is depicted below:

Lowland Dry System, O'ahu
TheLowland Dry System on O'ahu (red areas above) has been reduced byfire, weeds, and feral ungulates to small remnants on the leewardslopes of the Wai'anae conservation area.

Lowland Dry System, Kaua'i
TheLowland Dry System on Kaua'i (red areas above) has been reduced byfire, weeds, and feral ungulates to small remnants on the leewardslopes of the conservation area.
lehua blossom
lama lowland dry forest
The Lowland Dry System in Hawai‘i includes a variety of grasslands, shrublands and woodlands, typically on leeward slopes.

Lowland Dry System, Hawaii Island
The Lowland Dry System on Hawai‘i Island(red outlined shaded areas above) occurs in four conservation areas (Windward Mauna Loa, Ka‘ū-Kapāpala, Kona, and Pōhakuloa-Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a).

Lowland Dry System, Island of Maui
TheLowland Dry System on Maui (red areas above) occursbelow 3,000 feet elevation, on the leeward slopes of both East Maui andWest Maui conservation areas.

Lowland Dry System on Lana'i
TheLowland Dry System on Lāna'i (red areas above) occursbelow 3,000 feet elevation, and despite good size, is heavilyfragmented, and has been degraded by fire, feral ungulates, and weedinvasions.

TheLowland Dry System on Moloka'i (red areas above) has been reduced byfire, weeds, and feral ungulates to small remnants on the leewardslopes of the East Moloka'i conservation area.