Pahala timber harvest underway

Island Bioenergy LLC began harvesting eucalyptus trees this week in Pahala.

Kapapala, the first of three sectors of the timber plantation, is the site of the initial harvest that will include tree cutting, stocking and log transport.

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Harvesting operations are expected to take up to 12 months.

Trees will be cut and then transported to the Honua Ola Bioenergy biomass facility in Pepeekeo.

Logs will be transported starting in mid-September with one round trip per day, increasing steadily to 20 loads per day by the end of this year.

A gradual increase to 30 truckloads will occur when Honua Ola Bioenergy is at full dispatch in 2019.

“We will try to ensure that there is minimal disturbance to the Pahala community by not driving through town and limiting the use of air-brakes,” said Guy Cellier, IBE forest manager.

The same cycle will be repeated in the remaining two sectors near Naalehu and Pahala town as the power plant begins its operations next year.

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IBE leases 3,500 acres of the timber plantation from Kamehameha Schools, which intends to continue agricultural use of the property.

Honua Ola Bioenergy is a renewable energy biomass facility connected to the Hawaii Electric Light Co. grid. The facility is scheduled for completion in December.