HAWAI‘I FOREST LEGACY PROGRAM LOOKS FOR NEW PROJECTS
Applications for conservation acquisition assistance due Aug. 20
News Release from DLNR July 8, 2013
HONOLULU — The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) is seeking new projects for its Hawai‘i Forest Legacy Program to protect important working forest lands from the threat of conversion to non-forest uses. The federal Forest Legacy Program, administrated through DLNR’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife, is accepting grant applications for conservation acquisition assistance until Aug. 20..
“The Forest Legacy Program can be a very competitive program with only a few dozen projects being funded by the U.S. Forest Service each year,” stated Roger Imoto, administrator of the Division of Forestry and Wildlife, “but Hawai‘i projects have always competed well in this national program with the majority of our projects ranking in the top 15.
“With the help of land trusts and conservation minded landowners, we have been able to protect our important forest resource, preserving watersheds, sheltering endangered species, and safeguard our culturally important sites,” Imoto said.
The Hawai‘i Forest Legacy Program works with private landowners, state and county agencies, and conservation non-profit groups to promote sustainable, working forests. Roughly 58 percent of the land in the State of Hawai‘i is privately owned. Nationwide, millions of acres of privately-managed working forests have been lost or converted to other uses in the last 10 years with millions more that are projected to be at risk in the next decade – Hawai‘i is not an exception to this trend.
Over 2 million acres of threatened private forests have been protected under the Forest Legacy Program, of which 45,000 acres have been protected under Hawai‘i’s program.
The Division of Forestry and Wildlife is also currently working on projects that will protect an additional 5,000 acres of important forested watershed lands through the establishment of conservation easements.
Conservation easements are a relatively new conservation tool that allows a landowner to retain ownership of the restricted title to their property while providing permanent protection from development or unsustainable uses, providing landowners with an alternative to selling their land to development companies. Conservation easements are strictly voluntary, and the restrictions are binding to all future owners in perpetuity.
The Hawai‘i Forest Legacy Program has identified forestlands throughout the state as important and in need of permanent protection. More about this can be found in the states’ Assessment of Needs (www.hawaii.gov/dlnr/dofaw/hflp). The Hawai‘i program accepts both fee title and conservation easement acquisitions. Fee title acquisitions are voluntary and can provide landowners with the knowledge that their property will be managed and owned in perpetuity by the State of Hawai‘i.
The deadline for the next round of applications to the Hawai‘i Forest Legacy Program is August 20, 2013. Applications are available at http://hawaii.gov/dlnr/dofaw/forestry/hflp and should be submitted to Irene Sprecher by e-mail.
Landowners and non-profits entities who are interested in participating in the Forest Legacy Program are encouraged to contact Irene Sprecher at the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife at (808) 587-4167 or Melissa.I.Sprecher@hawaii.gov to discuss their property and interest in the program.
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