USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station

Pacific Southwest
Research Station

800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011
(510) 883-8830
United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.

Experimental Forests, Ranges, and Watersheds

Hawaiʻi Experimental Tropical Forest

A view from the ground looking up at the trees and sky in the Laupahoehoe unit of the Hawaii Experimental Tropical Forest.
Hawaiʻi Experimental Tropical Forest, Laupāhoehoe, Island of Hawaiʻi.
(U.S. Forest Service)

The Hawaiʻi Experimental Forest provides an opportunity to study how the land responds to challenges and helps to develop methods for land managers to help sustain Hawaiʻi's unique ecosystems as well as their ecological functions, for future generations.

The Hawaiʻi Experimental Forest has four main goals:

  1. Promote a better understanding of how to restore, preserve, and sustainably manage native tropical forests, streams, and entire watersheds of the Pacific and to provide information to land managers challenged with management of these important landscapes;
  2. Serve as a center for demonstration, training and outreach on tropical forestry, conservation biology, and natural resource research management;
  3. Provide sites dedicated to long-term research and tropical forestry, ecology, hydrology, conservation biology, and natural resource management; and
  4. Foster research cooperation and collaboration between State and Federal ahencies, educational and other institutions in tropical forestry research.

HETF Unit Locations

The HETF covers about 51,000 acres on Hawaiʻi Island, is part of the U.S. Forest Service's experimental forest and range network, and is co-managed in partnership with Hawaiʻi's Department of Land and Natural Resources' Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

The experimental forest is comprised of two "units" on opposite sides of Hawaiʻi Island, which epitomize both wet and dry forest tropical ecosystem conditions. The Laupāhoehoe Unit (wet forest) encompasses about 12,000 acres of tropical rain forest on the island's eastern Hamakua Coast, and the Puʻu Waʻawaʻa Unit (dry forest) is comprised of about 39,000 acres, near North Kona on the west side of Hawaiʻi Island. Each unit represents a unique and diverse tropical ecosystem with distinctive:

  • Climate
  • Soil types
  • Forest types
  • Life zones

For more information about our partners, visit the State of Hawaii, Department of Land and Natural Resources' Division of Forestry and Wildlife.

Approximate Reference Locations for the HETF

Laupāhoehoe Unit, Lat. 19.80528 N, Long. 155.26917 W
Puʻu Waʻawaʻa Unit, Lat. 19.73194 N, Long. 155.88611 W

Contact Information

Pacific Southwest Research Station
Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry
60 Nowelo St.
Hilo, HI 96720

Susan Cordell, Ph.D.
Phone: 808-854-2601