Lost water from lost forests
What would happen if we could use evolving ecological restoration techniques, like those implemented at Auwahi, to restore Kula’s lost watershed forests from ‘Ulupalakua to Makawao? How much more water would be harnessed? How much more habitat for native plants and animals created?
With our community-based volunteer trips, the Auwahi project restores diverse native dry forests above ‘Ulupalakua, some of the last living habitat of Hawai’i’s rarest biocultural treasures. Here, populations of native plants are being stabilized and endangered species beginning to thrive.
But does this type of native forest restoration really ‘jump start’ regional aquifers and help restore aquifer function?
In 2010, a collaborative study was initiated at Auwahi with the US Geological Survey with support from Maui County’s Department of Water Supply where scientists began to investigate this question.
In work potentially critical for future residents of Maui, this research documented that restoring forests at Auwahi actually does restore aquifer health. The data surprised participating hydrologists, who noted that the return of aquifer function happened at a much quicker rate than they would have otherwise predicted.
Data from this collaboration led to two peer-reviewed publications (full citations and links below), one of which was nationally recognized by both the American Geophysical Union and the US Geological Survey as documenting globally important findings.
Effects of native forest restoration on soil hydraulic properties, Auwahi, Maui, Hawaiian Islands. (Perkins, K. S., J. R. Nimmo, and A. C. Medeiros. 2012. Geophysical Research Letters 39: L05405. doi:10.1029/2012GL051120)
Assessing effects of native forest restoration on soil moisture dynamics and potential aquifer recharge, Auwahi, Maui. Ecohydrology. (Perkins, K. S., J. R. Nimmo, A. C. Medeiros, D.J. Szutu, and E.I. von Allmen. 2014. doi: 10.1002/eco.1469)
Join us for our next volunteer trip to Auwahi forest on Saturday September 29, 2018.
Due to limited seating, please understand that confirmation of your reservation is required for you to attend. To request a seat, send us a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where: Meet at `Ulupalakua Ranch Store. Please park behind store and bring all your gear.
When: Saturday, September 29, 2018 8:00 AM ~ 4:00 PM
What to bring: Due to the rough and steep terrain, we require hiking boots that cover the ankle, and unfortunately, we will have to turn folks away without proper boots. We have some extra boots you can borrow but please bring your own socks. Long pants are also recommended to protect against the dense brush. Please bring a back pack with layered clothing, rain gear, two liters of water, lunch, sunscreen and a hat. Coolers are not advised because of the rugged terrain we need to traverse to do our work. Please clean all your gear, backpacks and boots to leave hitchhiking seeds behind.
Located on and sponsored by `Ulupalakua Ranch, the Auwahi Project (www.auwahi.org) protects one of the last diverse tracts of dryland forest in the archipelago. We are a community based project, in large part, dependent on the contributions of the public, especially in terms of volunteerism for tree planting and other aspects of forest management.
As usual, before leaving the ranch we will be decontaminating our boots with brushes to help prevent the spread of invasive plants and using alcohol to avoid the potential spread of rapid `ōhi`a death (ROD) and other possible pathogens that can threaten our native Hawaiian forests.
Auwahi Forest Restoration `ohana