Saving hawksbill turtles, one plant at a time
How do you help endangered hawksbill turtles survive? One plant at a time! Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park natural resources management staff recently planted 746 naupaka kahaki (Scaevola taccada,), an indigenous coastal shrub, near the remote lagoon beach at Halapē.
The planting serves a dual purpose: it establishes a barrier to prevent further expansion of non-native, invasive koa haole from encroaching further along the shoreline, and it improves the habitat quality for nesting hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricate) by stabilizing the sand.
Hawksbill turtles, called honu ‘ea in Hawaiian, are a federally endangered sea turtle that nest primarily on the eastern beaches of Hawai‘i Island. Two of their primary nesting areas are located within the park.
This post was authored by Mark Wasser, who works in the Restoration Ecology Program at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, part of the Natural Resource Management division.