DLNR Accepting Applications to Conserve Hawai‘i ForestsJuly 17, 2017, 11:01 AM HST (Updated July 17, 2017, 10:29 AM)
The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) announced it is now accepting applications for the Hawai‘i Forest Legacy Program to protect important working forest lands from the threat of conversion to non-forest uses.
The nationwide Forest Legacy Program works with private landowners, state and county agencies and conservation nonprofit groups to promote sustainable, working forests.
According to DLNR, some 66 percent of forest lands in the State of Hawai‘i are privately owned. The majority of these landowners want to preserve working forests for future generations.
The Forest Legacy Program has successfully protected 47,000 acres of private forests in Hawai‘i, and more than 2.5 million acres nationwide. DLNRʻs Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) is currently working to protect an additional 3,700 acres of important forested watershed lands through the program.
“With the help of land trusts and conservation-minded landowners, we have been able to protect our important forest resources, preserve forest essential for water production, shelter endangered species, and safeguard our culturally important sites,” said Suzanne Case, DLNR chairperson.
Nationally, millions of acres of privately-owned working forests are expected to be lost or converted to other uses within the next decade. DLNR said Hawai‘i is no exception to this trend.
“The national Forest Legacy Program is very competitive with only a few dozen projects funded by the U.S. Forest Service each year,” Case said. “Hawai‘i always puts in strong projects that compete well in this national program,” she noted.
The Hawai‘i Forest Legacy Program has identified important forest lands throughout the state in need of permanent protections. More information about this assessment can be found in the State’s Assessment of Needs on the Hawai‘i Forest Legacy Program website.
The program accepts both fee title and conservation easement acquisitions. Fee title acquisitions are voluntary and will place the management and ownership of important lands in perpetuity under the State of Hawai‘i.
The deadline for the next round of applications for the Hawai‘i Forest Legacy Program is Aug. 21, 2017. Applications can be found online at http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/forestry/lap/forest-legacy/ and should be submitted to Malia Nanbara of DOFAW by email at Malia.Y.Nanbara@Hawaii.gov. Landowners and non-profits entities who are interested in participating in the Forest Legacy Program are encouraged to contact Nanbara at (808) 587-4176 or by email to discuss their property and interest in the program.