HONOLULU, HAWAI'I | January 20, 2011
A land preservation agreement between the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust and landowner Ed Olson ensures that 1,276 acres at Honouliuli on O‘ahu and 907 acres at Honu‘apo on Hawai‘i Island will continue to be working ranch and farm lands.
The newly formed Hawaiian Islands Land Trust worked with The Nature Conservancy to secure an agreement that protects these properties in perpetuity.
Cattle grazing predominates the 1,276-acre O‘ahu property. The parcel, which is in close proximity to the Wai‘anae Kai Forest Reserve, creates a continuity of natural areas across the eastern slope of the Wai‘anae Mountains. Olson’s voluntary land preservation agreement secures the land for continued agricultural use and safeguards the property’s numerous cultural sites and pockets of healthy wildlife habitat.
In Ka‘ū on Hawai‘i Island, protection of Olson’s 907-acre Honu‘apo property ensures that traditional farming and ranching activities will also continue. Similar to O‘ahu, terms of the agreement protect significant wildlife areas and cultural sites within the property. The agricultural areas are currently leased to Aina Koa Pono, an alternative energy company that is exploring biofuel-based production in the Ka‘ū area.
Olson, who owns over 15,000 acres of former C. Brewer and Campbell Estate agriculture lands throughout Hawai‘i, said a vision of sustained agricultural use and managed conservation areas led him to voluntarily place conservation easements on the more than 2,000 acres involved in the agreement.
“When I acquired these lands, it was for agricultural production and to maintain the character of the Ka‘ū area,” he said. “This conservation easement guarantees that this will happen.”
Completion of the agreement highlights the strength of collaborative work between conservation groups in Hawai‘i. Working in tandem, The Nature Conservancy and Hawaiian Islands Land Trust drew upon organizational and individual specialties in compiling the numerous and lengthy details that land agreements such as this demand.
“We are extremely fortunate in Hawai‘i to have so many very capable, committed conservation organizations that are willing to work together to protect the special places in our State,” said Dale Bonar, executive director of the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust. “We all realize that in the final analysis it is the ‘āina, and not our egos, that is the first priority.”
John Henshaw, director of land protection for The Nature Conservancy, added, “The Nature Conservancy is pleased that these conservation easements are able to protect areas of important native forest as well as assuring their continued availability for agriculture production.”
Hawaiian Islands Land Trust will hold the conservation easement protecting the 2,183 acres. This is the organization’s first conservation project following its formation on January 1, 2011 through the merger of land trusts on Maui, Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i Island and O‘ahu. With this addition, Hawaiian Islands Land Trust now oversees stewardship and protection of over 17,400 acres across the State.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.