HILT Conserves Additional Land with Its Kīpuka Mosaic Project on Hawaiʻi Island

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Fran Jackson, a long-time resident of Volcano, has donated a perpetual conservation easement to the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust (“HILT”) over 1.4431 acres of her property in Volcano, Hawai‘i.  The property consists of 5 lots which are contiguous and forested with native species such as ‘Ōhi‘a.   Fran’s family purchased land in this area in 1936.  It was young Fran’s dream of protecting this special place one day and the completion of the conservation easement fulfills her dream.  Her donation brings the total number of conservation easements secured by HILT in its “Kīpuka Mosaic Project” for the important Volcano area to five.

Fran and her partner Jean will continue to live near the protected property with the knowledge that their gift will allow this special area to remain accessible to the wildlife and plants that have also made their home there.   This now protected land is part of a larger effort by HILT and community members in Volcano to protect “Kīpuka” 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 Volcanoes National Park, Kahauale‘a Natural Area and Ola‘a Forest Reserve.

HILT 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 “Kīpuka 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.   Three large protected areas – Volcanoes National Park, Kahauale‘a Natural Area 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 Kīpuka Mosaic Project aims to secure numerous conservation easements within these potentially fragmenting subdivisions so to help provide a continuum of habitat for native flora and fauna.

“On behalf of the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust, I want to thank Fran Jackson for her long-term vision, leadership and generosity.  She has helped us add another perpetual green patch to our conservation quilt in the Volcano area of Hawai‘i Island, known as our Kīpuka Mosaic Project.  I also want to acknowledge and thank our Acquisitions Specialist/Hawai‘i Island Director, Janet Britt, for her hard work on this project,” said Ted Clement, HILT’s Executive Director.

The Hawaiian Islands Land Trust is a local 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the first nationally accredited land trust in Hawai‘i, with a mission to protect the lands that will sustain us for current and future generations.  HILT has conserved over 17,000 acres to date, via perpetual Conservation Easements and fee simple ownership, on a number of properties with various conservation values important to residents and visitors alike.  The organization takes a uniquely Hawaiian and holistic approach to land conservation.  We conserve lands that enable Hawai‘i’s long-term well-being, lands with scenic views, agricultural resources, wildlife habitats, water resource areas, cultural and historical values, and outdoor recreation opportunities.

Photo credit: Janet Britt