Kipuka Mosaic - Irwin Easement
A donated Conservation Easement of one acre situated just north of the 25,000 acre Kahauale‘a State Natural Area Reserve. This small parcel is part of a larger effort by HILT and community members in Volcano to protect kīpuka, small oases of intact forest canopy in an area that is increasingly being developed. These oases provide green corridors for birds, butterflies and other insects to use while moving around the forest and onto adjacent protected lands such as The Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Kahauale‘a State Natural Area Reserve and Ola‘a Forest Reserve.
HILT has been working with a group of landowners to preserve as much of the forest canopy as possible for the use of native birds and other species that move back and forth along the flank of Mauna Loa. This project is called the Kīpuka Mosaic and it is a grassroots conservation initiative that has brought together many small landowners, professional resource managers, and HILT to help ensure the survival of rare flora and fauna, especially native birds, along the southern flanks of the massive Mauna Loa Volcano. Data indicate the presence of native Hawaiian birds including the endangered ‘apapane and ‘ōma‘o, as well as the more common birds such as amakihi, ‘elepaio and ‘io, the Hawaiian Hawk. Three large protected areas – Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, Kahauale‘a Natural Area and the ‘Ola‘a Forest Reserve – are divided by huge and partially undeveloped subdivisions that have the potential to fragment the connections between these important protected areas. HILT’s Kīpuka Mosaic Project aims to secure numerous conservation easements within these potentially fragmenting subdivisions that will help provide a continuum of habitat for native and endemic flora.