Guess this is just a time of good land preservation news. On Apr. 24, The Nature Conservancy announced that Alexander & Baldwin’s subsidiary East Maui Irrigation Co. had agreed to donate 3,721 acres of undeveloped Upcountry rainforest.
“This area has been one of The Nature Conservancy’s highest priorities for more than two decades,” Mark White, director of the Conservancy’s Maui Nui program, said in the news release. “The land lies at the core of the 100,000-acre East Maui watershed is one of the most intact pieces of native forest in the state.”
But don’t expect a lot of public access–we’re talking land preservation here. According to the Conservancy, the donated land is “entirely undeveloped” and “shares a seven-mile border with the Nature Conservancy’s 5,230-acre Waikamoi Preserve.” The land is also home to “20 threatened or endangered native plants, and to two exceedingly rare native forest birds: the ‘akohehoke, or crested honeykeeper; and the kiwikiu, or Maui parrotbill.”
Also, all’s apparently not well in the donated land. In fact, the Conservancy says that a range of invasive species, including feral pigs, cattle, strawberry guava, Himalayan ginger and pampas grass pose dangers to the native species there. For that reason, the Conservancy is already talking about fencing some of it in.
“The first conservation move is to establish a three-mile, $600,000 fence to block pig and cattle access on EMI land,” White said in the news release. “One mile of fence has already been constructed with funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, State Department of Health and Maui County Department of Water Supply. The fence protects a 12,000-acre core area that includes the majority of Waikamoi and part of the EMI easement, and will now be managed to help stop the degradation that is starting to occur.”
Photo: John De Mello