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Hawaii makes pledge to conserve, restore or grow 100 million trees by 2030

Hawaii has pledged to conserve, restore or grow 100 million trees by 2030 as part of a global one-trillion-tree effort.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources in a news release said Gov. David Ige revealed Hawaii’s pledge in a video message during virtual or in-person Global Citizen Live events, which are being held in cities around the world. The One Trillion Trees Pledge is part of the 24-hour Global Citizen Live event today to “defend the planet and defeat poverty” and is meant to achieve net-negative carbon goals and combat climate change.

The DLNR is leading the state’s pledge, which has also been supported by the state Department of Transportation and Department of Defense. The state will plant, conserve or restore 10 million trees each year this decade.

“Forest carbon projects withdraw carbon dioxide (CO2), the greenhouse gas largely responsible for global climate change, and stores it in trees or other biomass,” DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said in a statement. ‘The actions planned until the end of this decade will contribute to our net-negative carbon goal. Already we’ve seen progress. In 2017 Hawaii forests sequestered 2.69 metric tons of CO2 and our continuing challenge and pledge is to increase this by 2030.”

The DOD has also pledged to plant more trees under its jurisdiction.

“DOD is pledging to plant 1,200 trees annually and is proud to be a part of this global initiative,” Gen. Kenneth Hara, Hawaii Adjutant General, said in a statement.

Private partners are key to achieving Hawaii’s pledge, the DLNR news release said. They will help through watershed partnerships and DLNR’s forest stewardship program.

“Ensuring privately held forest lands are protected can be accomplished by best practices, such as natural resource management, conservation easements, or acquisition by the state,” the department said, adding it will work with federal partners to raise funds to buy priority forests and bring them into permanent conservation under the state.

“We will permanently conserve 43,000 acres of forest and we will build conservation fences to protect an additional 106,816 acres from feral ungulates in our watersheds to ensure this number grows,” Case said in a statement.

Two fences, one predator-proof and one ungulate-proof, are being constructed at the Na Pali-Kona Forest Reserve and Kokee State Park. Much of the funding is coming from the U.S. Department of Defense, the DLNR said. A predator-proof fence inside an ungulate-proof fence is a first for Hawaii.

DLNR’s goals will be guided by seven action areas:

>> Protect existing forests

>> Conserve private land through legal protections

>> Plant trees to restore existing forest lands

>> Plant trees to reclaim unused rural lands where forests used to exist

>> Plant trees to advance agroforestry

>> Plant trees in urban areas

>> Facilitate natural regeneration

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