Collaboration protects Big Island forestland

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In an agreement July 6, the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust and Kaye Lundburg permanently protected a more-than-41-acre forestland property near the O‘okala Cooperative Game Management Area and the Manowaialee Forest Reserve in the Hamakua District.

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In an agreement July 6, the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust and Kaye Lundburg permanently protected a more-than-41-acre forestland property near the O‘okala Cooperative Game Management Area and the Manowaialee Forest Reserve in the Hamakua District.

The agreement was made possible by landowner Lundburg, who donated a perpetual conservation easement to HILT on the area.

A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a qualified conservation organization, such as HILT, that permanently restricts certain activities on the land and extinguishes development rights, so as to protect the land’s conservation values, such as wildlife habitat, scenic vistas, agricultural resources, cultural and historical values, outdoor education and recreation opportunities, and water resources.

The landowner who donates a conservation easement to a qualified entity remains the landowner, and the qualified entity must then uphold the conservation easement even with future landowners of the subject property.

The forest on Lundburg’s land has native plants and trees such as ohia, koa, hapuu and uluhe that provide wildlife habitat. Lundburg also is improving the quality of her forest by fencing the land, removing invasive species such as strawberry guava, and planting more native plant and tree species.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resource’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife staff are providing assistance.

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“The conservation easement honors those who came before us and protects what we have received,” Lundburg said of the conservation transaction.

To learn more about Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, visit www.hilt.org.

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