An Endangered Ecosystem on Maui Receives a Blessing

An Unlikely Setting

Past the little town of ʻUlupalakua and the tiny but graced headquarters of ʻUlupalakua Ranch, on the leeward flanks of Haleakalā volcano, begin in earnest lava fields that continue for another 20 or so miles until you reach Kaupō District. To most who pass this way, kapu to rental cars, the lava seems barren and like a moonscape - formidable, almost hostile, and seemingly incapable of supporting life of any kind.

Most are shocked to learn that these lava flows support some of Hawaiʻi’s richest forests, the source of much of the material culture of the ancient Hawaiians - the Hawaiian dryland forests.

To those who pass through only once, their memories recall buffeting winds and tortuously pitted ...

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