Since 1982, the Nature Conservancy has managed the Kamakou Preserve, which includes cloud forest, bogs, shrub land and habitat for many endangered plants and animals. Its 2774 acres of native ecosystems start immediately beyond the Waikolu Lookout and feature over 230 native plant species.
Much of the preserve is forested with ʻohiʻa lehua, a native tree with fluffy red blossoms, whose nectar is favored by native birds. It is home to the ʻapapane (bright-red Hawaiian honeycreeper), ʻamakihi (yellow-green honeyeater) and pueo (Hawaiian owl). Other treasures include tree ferns, native orchids and silvery lilies.