The youngest and largest of the eight main islands, Hawai`i Island is approximately 800,000 years old and was created from five separate shield volcanoes: Kohala, Mauna Kea, Hualalai, Kilauea and Mauna Loa at 13,680 feet. At 60 miles long and 30 miles wide, Mauna Loa makes up half of the entire island. Mauna Loa and Kilauea still remain active.
Hawai`i Island covers 4,038 square miles and is home to 11 out of 13 of the world’s climatic zones and all four types of forests: dryland forests, rainforests, upland moist forests and subalpine forests.
Because of the island’s size, the aerial view of Hawai`i Island provides a clear example of how topography, weather and climate conditions affect growth on the moist windward and dry leeward sides of the Hawai`i Islands.
For those who would like to learn more about tropical dryland forests, the Hawai`i Forest Industry Association manages outreach programs at Ka’upulehu Dryland Forest. Contact us for more information.
Places to Visit
Amy B.H. Greenwell Ethnobotanical Garden Bishop Museum
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Refuge Map
DLNR: State of Hawaii Forest Reserve System Hawai`i Island
United States Geological Survey
Water and Weather
Hawaii Association of Watershed Partnerships
Earth Observatory: Little Islands Big Wake
Earth Observatory-the Big Island of Hawaii
CTAHR Hawaii Forestry Extension
Hawaii Forest Industry Association
Hawaii Agriculture Research Center