HAWAI‘I VOLCANOES NATIONAL 8 • April 17, 2016 PARK CENTENNIAL SAFE ZONES Explore the park’s special ecological areas Many people don’t realize that Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park isn’t only about volcanoes. Three distinct characteristics define the park: geology (of course), Hawaiian culture and biology. In fact, the extraordinary native plants and animals adapted to the volcanic environments found within Hawai‘i Volcanoes are what earned the park its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. R L From the ocean to the summit of Mauna Loa, the park provides habitat for thousands of unique plants and animals. These species are the result of millions of years of adaptation and evolution, and together form distinctive ecosystems. Unfortunately, introduced invasive species threaten to eliminate these irreplaceable Hawaiian plants and animals through predation, plant-munching, trampling and encroaching on native habitats. Faced with the challenge of protecting a large land area from these threats, Tim Tunison, the former chief of resources management, created a system in the early 1980s to prioritize park areas for management. These selected key areas represent many different types of landscapes, and were designated as special ecological areas, or SEAs. The SEAs were chosen for their large number of rare species, high potential for recovery, exploration and learning opportunities for visitors and value for research. The park safeguards the SEAs for future generations to enjoy. Actions include the exclusion of harmful non-native goats, cattle, sheep and pigs and removal of invasive weeds. For decades, park staff, joined by thousands of volunteers from nearby communities, have labored tirelessly to malama the land, and today continue to remove weeds, plant native trees and carefully monitor the plants and animals that flourish within these protected landscapes. Today, more than two dozen SEAs are established throughout the various ecological zones of the park, and range from subalpine communities on the high slopes of Mauna Loa, to lush rain forests and small pockets of coastal strand vegetation. Together, these SEAs enable the recovery of dozens of rare plants and animals as well as opportunities for the public to experience the remarkable ecosystems within the national park. Discover these special ecological areas from mauka to makai: Mauna Loa Subalpine Magnificent native-dominated scenery awaits visitors at the top of Mauna Loa Road. Morning is the best time to observe brightly colored Hawaiian forest birds such as ‘i‘iwi, See ZONES Page 10 Ka‘u silversword and yellow faced bee.
To see the actual publication please follow the link above