tnc logo
Hawaiian High Islands Ecoregion
This page last revised 23 August 2006 -- S.M.Gon III

Conservation Targets
TNC Action Sites


Maps & Figures
CPT Database
Lobelia gaudichaudii on wet cliff shrubland
Native plants of the wet cliff system such as Lobelia gaudichaudii must endure strong buffetting tradewinds.

uluhe ferns cover wet cliff
Uluhe ferns (Dicranopteris spp.) can dominate wet cliff systems

Wet Cliff System

Natural communities occupyingsteep (>65º) slopes  in regions receiving greaterthan 75 inches annual precipitation, or otherwise bearingprevailingly wet substrate conditions comprise the wet cliff system intheHawaiian High Islands Ecoregion. This system is found on theislands of Hawai‘i, Maui, Moloka‘i, Lāna‘i,O‘ahu, and Kaua‘i, and is best developed on the windwardsides of the islands, for example, the steepest portions of thewindward flank of West Maui, the headwalls of the wet northern valleysof East Moloka‘i, the summit cliffs of Lāna‘i, thesteeper slopes surrounding Ka‘ala in the Wai‘anae Mountains(O‘ahu), and the windward cliffs adjacent toWai‘ale‘ale, Kaua‘i. It occurs typically below oradjacent to either the lowland wet system or the montane wet system,and is sometimes the system separating the two. There are a numberof naturalcommunities described within this system, typically a variety ofgrasslands and shrublands, the slopes being too steep to supportforests. Biologicaldiversity is low to moderate in this system, and some specializedplants occur there.

Natural communities and species of this system are listed among nested targets via the appendices.

The distribution of the Wet Cliff System across the Hawaiian High Islands Ecoregion is depicted below:

Wet Cliff System, Moloka'i
The Wet Cliff System on Moloka'i(red areas above) is prominent along the windward cliffs of the East Moloka'iconservation area.

Wet Cliff System, O'ahu
The Wet Cliff System onO'ahu (red areas above) is prominent along the windward cliffs ofthe Ko'olau conservation area (right), but restricted to a small areaof sheer cliffs surrounding the montane summit of the Wai'anaeconservation area (left).

Wet Cliff System, Kaua'i
TheWet Cliff System on Kaua'i (red areas above) occursprimarily in the deeply dissected system of valleys running outward from the wet summit plateau region.

lehua blossom
wet cliffs
TheWet Cliff System in Hawai‘i is characterized by shrublands andgrasslands on near-vertical slopes striped by waterfalls.

Wet Cliff System, Hawaii Island
The Wet Cliff System on Hawai‘i Island(red areas above) is restricted to only two conservation areas (Kohala and Ka‘ū-Kapāpala).

Wet Cliff System, Island of Maui
TheWet Cliff System on Maui (red areas above) occursprimarily along windward (north and east) valley walls in the East Maui conservationarea, and throughout the deeply dissected West Maui conservation area.

Wet Cliff System, Lana'i
The Wet Cliff System on Lāna'i(red areas above) is restricted to a small area of cliffs surrounding the montane summit of the conservation area.