Dr. Linda-Jane Irwin has donated a perpetual conservation easement to the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust over 32,000 square feet of her property located along Wright Road in Volcano, Hawaii. This small parcel is part of a larger effort by HILT and community members in Volcano to protect “Kipuka” or small oases of intact forest canopy in an area that is increasingly being developed. These oases provide green corridors for birds, butterflies and other insects to use while moving around the forest and onto adjacent protected lands such as Volcano National Park, Kahauale’a Natural Area and Ola’a Forest Reserve. Dr. Irwin’s donation brings the total number of conservation easements secured by HILT in its “Kipuka Mosaic Project” to four.
The Hawaiian Islands Land Trust has been working with a group of landowners to preserve as much of the forest canopy as possible for the use of native birds and other species that move back and forth along the flank of Mauna Loa. This project is called the “Kipuka Mosaic” and it is a grassroots conservation initiative that has brought together many small landowners, professional resource managers, and HILT to help ensure the survival of rare flora and fauna, especially native birds, along the southern flanks of the massive Mauna Loa Volcano. Data indicate the presence of native Hawaiian birds including the endangered ‘apapane and ‘oma’o, as well as the more common birds such as amakihi, ‘elepaio and ‘io, the Hawaiian Hawk. Three large protected areas – Hawaii Volcano National Park, Kahauale’a Natural Area preserve and the Ola’a Forest Reserve – are divided by huge and partially undeveloped subdivisions that have the potential to fragment the connections between these important protected areas. HILT’s Kipuka Mosaic Project aims to secure numerous conservation easements within these potentially fragmenting subdivisions that will help provide a continuum of habitat for native and endemic flora and fauna.
Regarding the conservation transaction, Linda-Jane Irwin stated, “When I purchased the property next to my home in 2004 I immediately knew that this wonderful native Ohi’a forest should be preserved in perpetuity. Finally, the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust’s Kipuka Mosaic Project has become a reality and I am delighted to add my parcel to this beautifully conceived idea.” “On behalf of the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, I want to thank Linda-Jane Irwin for helping us create lasting good by adding another perpetual green patch to our conservation quilt in the Volcano area of Hawaii Island, known as our Kipuka Mosaic Project,” said Ted Clement, HILT’s Executive Director.