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Hono O Nā Pali Natural Area Reserve



Hono O Nā Pali Natural Area Reserve (NAR or Reserve) occupies 3,579 acres (ac) (1,448 hectares (ha)) on the island of Kaua‘i. The Reserve was designated in 1983 and expanded in 2009 to preserve native natural communities in the Hanalei and Waimea Districts, including the Hanakāpī‘ai, Hanakoa, and Waiahuakua ahupua‘a. The NAR includes perennial streams, riparian and ridgeline habitat, lowland and montane forests, rare plants, endemic stream fauna, and forest bird and seabird habitat. The Reserve stretches from sea level along the picturesque Nā Pali coast to the highest point at Pihea (4,284 feet (ft), 1,306 meters (m)). The Reserve encompasses parts of Hanakāpī‘ai and Hanakoa streams and all of Waiahuakua Stream; the southern boundary of the NAR is the south side of the Alaka‘i Swamp Trail.

Additional Information

Natural Communities

The Reserve can be broadly classified as containing three major ecosystems including lowland mesic, lowland wet, and montane wet.

Lowland mesic ecosystems include a variety of grasslands, shrublands, and forests, generally below 3,000 ft (914 m) elevation, with 50 to 75 in (1270 to 1905 mm) of annual rainfall.

Lowland wet ecosystems are generally found below 3,000 ft (914 m) elevation on the windward sides of the island in areas that receive greater than 75 in (1905 mm) of annual precipitation. The Reserve’s lowland wet ecosystems are dominated by kukui, a tree introduced by the Hawaiians who burned its nut oil for light.

The Reserve’s lowland coastal ecosystems contain steep cliffs characterized by plants found in drier areas. These cliffs are dominated by common coastal plants such as kāwelu (Eragrostis variabilis), ‘āhinahina (Artemisia australis), ‘akoko, nehe, ko‘oko‘olau, ‘ilima (Sida fallax), and akoko (Chamaesyce celastroides).

Montane wet communities are found at elevations between 3,000 and 6,600 ft (914 and 2,012 m) in areas with annual precipitation greater than 75 in (1905 mm). The upper part of Hono O Nā Pali Reserve is an eroded plateau with a series of ridges and valleys covered with ‘ōhi‘a dominated montane wet forest communities.

Montane wet communities also include bogs with low-stature ‘ōhi‘a, and a variety of bog-adapted, low-growing shrubs, herbs and sedges.

Native Plants and Animals

Native Plants: 214 total taxa, 118 rare

Native Animals: 32 total taxa, 10 rare