Video by David Corrigan | Voice of Stephanie Salazar
State and federal agencies have signed a partnership that will help private Forest Stewardship, landowners and managers conserve forestry land across Hawaii.
According to a media release, the agreement will “strengthen cooperation for the delivery of forestry-related conservation assistance to private landowners and managers of the land. The agreement does not call for any additional funding for any agency; instead this collaboration will allow for the partners to use existing funds to deliver programs more efficiently.”
The media release even used the Koa forest of John Lindelow, of Ahu Lani Sanctuary on Mauna Kea, as an example. Through current federal-state conservation programs, Lindelow has planted Koa and other native Hawaiian trees and converted 20 acres of pastureland to native forest land by improving water and soil quality.
Governor Neil Abercrombie spoke about the forestry partnership while in Kona this past weekend.
The agreement, formally called a Joint Forestry Memorandum of Understanding, includes DLNR, Hawai’i Association of Conservation Districts, Natural Resource Conservation Service and U.S. Forest Service.
“Through this agreement, we will build a partnership of trust and collaboration that is critical in sustaining our unique forest lands and watersheds,” said Department of Land and Natural Resources Chairperson William Aila, Jr. in a media release. “This will promote local job growth in our forest products industry and contribute to the sustainability of our island communities.”
“This is a renewed commitment for collaboration among natural resource agencies in Hawai’i,” said Randy Moore, U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Regional Forester. “This strengthens our ability to address issues across boundaries in an all-lands approach.”
“Forests make rivers. Our vision is to bring back the native forests, and the resulting permanent streams, that used to exist in our ahupua’a on the North Slope of Mauna Kea,” Mr. Lindelow said. “By getting involved with Conservation Reserve Enchantment Program, we now have great relationships with NRCS, FSA, DLNR, and the local watershed partnerships. I am excited to see future efforts to reforest the land; this partnership will help to clear a path for those individuals wanting to get involved.”
The agreement comes as a result of the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (2008 Farm Bill), which called for specific attention to the need for forestry assistance to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s private working lands. National agencies began asking state agencies through these formal agreements to collaborate to ensure that conservation assistance is available.
“We are excited about the opportunity to work with our partners at the local level, to promote forestry and watershed protection. Each of our partners will provide unique expertise and resources. HACD will provide locally based knowledge and community support to enhance this statewide program,” said Wesley Nohara, President of the Hawai’i Association of Conservation Districts.
“We are honored to be a partner in this significant opportunity to support our forest land stewards with federal programs and funds available through the Farm Bill,” said Lawrence Yamamoto, Director of NRCS in the Pacific Islands Area.