The Creation of Clouds
The Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary isn’t a rainforest. You won’t get tons of water falling down in big fat drops the way you might expect in a tropical place. It’s a cloud forest. It’s at that sweet spot on Hualālai that ranges from 2500 – 5000 feet in elevation; a 50-mile-long swath about five miles wide.
The very nature of a cloud forest is self-sustaining. Trees cool their habitat by shading the ground and drawing water up into the canopy. Moist air rising up the mountain cools and turns to clouds. This foggy precipitation maintains the forests that created it. Cloud forests are rare. The Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary even more so because it’s a seasonally dry cloud forest. Winters are the dry season on the Kona side of Hawaiʻi. And if you’re visiting during the summer, expect it to be even more misty.
Restoring the Forests | Restoring Ourselves
Restoration and conservation form the foundation of the Sanctuary’s mission. Humans have done damage to the land. Some of that damage is irreparable, like extinct native species that are not found anywhere else on earth, but some can be reversed, reminding us that hope exists — even in devastation.
Throughout the grounds, you’ll see some of the 200 palm and 100 bamboo species Bezona first planted on the lands. There are six different types of banyans, various eucalyptus, rubber trees, and even a carnivorous garden. The forest now rests on about a foot-and-a-half of loose rubble and decomposing matter. Trails are littered with these fallen leaves and lava chunks, which nourish growth to come. Each step is an acknowledgment of the tiny sliver of time humans can experience.