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Webinar: 14 years of Post-fire Recovery in Hawaiian Mesic Forest

Date: Tuesday, April 25th

Time: 11 am to 12pm HST

Register for Free

Join us to learn about post-fire restoration efforts and results at the Waianae Kai - Makaha burn site on Oahu. A 40-minute presentation will be followed by 20 minutes of group discussion and Q&A with the presenters.


  • Tamara Ticktin, Professor of Botany, University of Hawaii
  • Amy Tsuneyoshi, Watershed Resources Specialist, Honolulu Board of Water Supply
  • Clay Trauernicht, Wildfire Mgt. Extension Specialist, University of Hawaii


Wildfires frequently occur across the leeward, lowland areas of Hawaii. Although most burns occur in grassland and non-native shrubland, fires do spread mauka into dry and mesic forest areas and this pattern will likely increase as climate change leads to warmer and drier weather.

At present there is little information on the recovery of lowland Hawaiian mesic forests after fire or on best practices to restore areas that have burned. In September 2003, a human-caused fire burned 4 hectares of native mesic forest on the ridge between Wainae Kai and Makaha valleys on Oʿahu island.

Through a partnership between the University of Hawaii, the Honolulu Board of Water Supply, DOFAW and Kaʿala Farms, we began a project to document the recovery of the forest from the fire and to restore it. We set up 56 permanent monitoring plots and a series of photo points and in collaboration with community volunteers and Waianae High School students we removed non-native species, established soil erosion control barriers, and grew and outplanted native species seedlings.  Native and nonnative plant species establishment was surveyed in plots with and without outplanting over 2004-2006 and then again in 2017.

Here we present our findings on the recovery of the forest, and the effects of our restoration efforts, 14 years after the burn.  We conclude with thoughts and recommendations for current management of the site and for future responses to fires in mesic forest areas.