Land Trust Purchases Conservation Easement to Preserve Kona Cloud Forest

KAILUA-KONA, HAWAII – February 6, 2017 - Hawaiian Islands Land Trust (HILT) announced today that it has purchased a conservation easement on a ten-acre parcel in the Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary above Kailua-Kona.

HILT works collaboratively with private landowners across Hawaii to protect and enhance lands with unique natural and cultural resources for the benefit of all who live and visit Hawaii. HILT’s Hawaii Island Director, Janet Britt worked with the owner of the sanctuary, Norman Bezona to acquire the easement which protects the forest and other conservation values of the property and restricts additional subdivision and development of the forest habitat.

Bezona, a well-known and respected Professor Emeritus at the University of Hawaii at Manoa has worked in tropical agriculture and reforestation for more than fifty years.  Norm dedicates most of his time to the Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary by hosting botanical tours and educational programs year-round.  Local educators use Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary as a living classroom for organized educational programs and field trips emphasizing the importance of protecting tropical ecosystems.

Visitors experience a towering ohia forest, ieie vines, hapuu ferns, varieties of palms, bamboo, flowers, and native plant species many of them threatened or endangered.  The Kona cloud forest also serves as a sanctuary for a variety of native birds including rare species such as the akepa, amakihi, apapane, and elepaio. “It is a relief to know that our ten acres of land here in Kaloko mauka is now protected. We hope to place the additional 60 acres of family land with the land trust. It is great to work with Janet Britt and the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust,” said Bezona. Britt and Bezona hope that this project will spur additional landowners in Kona to work with the land trust to protect other lands in the area.

“We would like to thank Norman Bezona for his vision and The Conservation Alliance and Dorrance Foundation for their financial support to preserve this unique cloud forest environment in Kona,” said Kawika Burgess, CEO of HILT.

On Hawaii Island, much of the forest surrounding the Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary is being subdivided into small lots, bulldozed and cleared, so the ongoing threat of losing the cloud forest habitat on the Big Island of Hawaii is high.

Landowners interested in learning about conservation options for their properties can visit HILT’s website at www.hilt.org or call (808) 244-5263.

To learn more about the Kona Cloud Forest Sanctuary, please visit their website:  www.konacloudforest.com


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