Watersheds provide an integral link between the natural world and the burgeoning needs of increasing human populations. This constant and growing need for water, both agricultural and potable, is met by properly functioning mountain watersheds.
Reestablishment of koa forest on the degraded and/or denuded landscapes of leeward Haleakalā will restore the severely depleted regional aquifer. Forest restoration will increase fog interception and hydraulic lift (transfer of deep soil water to near surface soil regions via tall (>10m) tree root systems), which will enhance nutrient cycling, moderate water runoff, and increase soil moisture, leaf litter, and soil nitrogen.
The changes in vegetation structure should increase not only water quantity but also substantially benefit water quality. Restoration of forest cover will also increase the number of days per year when water is available in springs and intermittent streams, increasing opportunity for water storage in tanks for agriculture and wildfire control. Decreased erosion will protect topsoil and allow for the retention of organic material, therefore building soil fertility and nitrogen, and forwarding the revegetation of upland areas. Without such management, ungulate feces, erosion and sedimentation degrade the quality of near-shore marine waters on which the community depends.Biology Culture Silviculture