East Hawaii News

Public Comment on Laupahoehoe Forest Management Plan Opens

March 8, 2016, 11:57 AM HST
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Laupahoehoe National Area Reserve. DLNR image.

Laupahoehoe National Area Reserve. DLNR image.

Public comments on a Draft Environmental Assessment in connection with a proposed management plan for the Laupahoehoe forest are sought.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife, along with the United States Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service, is seeking the comments.

Consultation of the draft plan was conducted by the Laupahoehoe Advisory Council.

The plan looks to protect and preserve Laupahoehoe forest while also enhancing public use and benefits through education, recreation, outreach, demonstration, and research activities.

Within the plan, the history of the forest, including its current condition and an overview of its current management, are included. Recommended management actions and proposed actions are also included.

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There are 12,343 acres within the Laupahoehoe forest area, including two state-managed parcels of land and 7,894 acres designated as a natural area reserve.

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The Laupahoehoe forest is designated as part of the Hawai‘i Experimental Tropical Forest, which was designated to serve as a center for long-term research for the management of tropical forests.

“The experimental forest designation means that while the state is the manager of the land, we work cooperatively with them to coordinate research, management, and education/outreach activities for the forest,” said Ric Lopez, director of the Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry.

Once the plan is approved, it will guide DOFAW and USFS management for a 15-year period.

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“This plan addresses the threat of invasive non-native species and climate change and recognizes the role an intact forest plays in providing clean fresh water for people and wildlife and supporting healthy coastal marine resources,” said DLNR Chairperson Suzanne Case.

DOFAW, the USFS, and the LAC developed the planning collaboratively. The LAC was formed in 2010 and 11 public meetings took place over a three-year period to develop the management plan draft.

The document can be reviewed on the DLNR website.

Members of the public are invited to submit public comments through April 8.

The LAC will be meeting on March 30, 2016 at the Laupahoehoe Community Public Charter school cafeteria from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to hear public comments and answer any questions regarding the DEA.

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