Hawai’i Forest Legacy Program Seeks Applicants
Applications are being accepted for the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Hawai’i Forest Legacy Program, a project administered by the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife.
The program works to protect working forest lands from the threat of conversion to non-forest uses.
“With the help of land trusts and conservation-minded landowners, we have been able to protect our important forest resources, preserve forest health and watersheds, shelter endangered species, and safeguard our culturally important sites,” said DLNR Chairperson Suzanne Case.
Millions of acres of forest land throughout the country have been converted or lost to non-forest uses in the past 10 years, according to the DLNR. The Hawai’i Forest Legacy Program works with private landowners and state and county agencies, as well as conservation non-profit groups to promote sustainable, working forests in Hawai’i.
In the United States, over two million acres of threatened private forests have been protected under the Forest Legacy Program. Of the two million, 45,000 are in Hawai’i. An additional 5,000 acres will be added to the list as the Division of Forestry and Wildlife completes current conservation easements.
According to the DLNR, a conservation easement is a tool that allows a landowner to retain ownership of a property with a restricted title. The property will be given permanent protection from the development or unsustainable uses.
The conservation easements are voluntary and many times provide landowners an alternative to selling their land to development companies. Properties under the conservation easements are put under restrictions that will follow the property regardless of ownership change..
“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.”
There are a variety of lands throughout Hawai’i that have been deemed important or are in need of permanent land protection. Fee title and conservation easement acquisitions are both accepted by the program.
Hawai’i Forest Legacy Program applications are due by Aug. 17 and can be found on the DLNR website. The applications should be e-mailed to Irene Sprecher at [email protected]. Those interested in applying are encouraged to call Sprecher at (808) 587-4167 or by e-mailing the aforementioned address.