Voluntary Long-Term Protection of Agricultural Land in Hawaii

Project Overview

Project Type: Research and Education
Funds awarded in 2009: $82,814.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Region: Western
State: Hawaii
Principal Investigator:
Dr. Christopher Lepczyk
University of Hawaii at Manoa

Annual Reports


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: workshop
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems

    Proposal abstract:

    In the past five years, local land trusts have become better established in Hawaii to provide voluntary protection for open space lands. These land trusts have helped establish public funding sources at the state level and in every county that are now able to leverage funding from existing sources of federal money for land preservation. In addition, Hawaii state legislation recently authorized a range of tax and land zoning incentives for land owners to voluntarily designate their lands as Important Agricultural Lands. Research on the incentives and consequences of conservation easements and Important Agricultural Lands designation is needed to provide a strong foundation for education and marketing programs to increase knowledge and awareness of the programs and their benefits among landowners and professionals who work with landowners. This increased knowledge and awareness will stimulate greater interest of agricultural landowners in seeking long-term protection for their land and better marketing and targeting strategies for private land trusts and public land protection programs. Over 100 personal interviews will be conducted with agricultural landowners and producers to identify the value and significance of these voluntary approaches to protecting land in agriculture over the long term. Research on conservation easement programs throughout the U.S. will be used to develop prioritization strategies for targeting farmland protection funding. Research on the Important Agricultural Lands designation program will help determine the extent to which landowners will participate and options for increasing participation rates. An Extension Research Report and two articles in professional journals will report the major findings of the research component of the project. Workshops will be held in each of the counties in the first year and statewide in the second year to educate professionals in government, land trusts, Cooperative Extension Service and Natural Resource Conservation Service field staff on the new agricultural land protection programs and the impacts on landowners of participating. Fact sheets and other educational materials will be developed for the workshops will made available on a project web site. The project is a cooperative effort of the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Oahu Resources Conservation and Development Council and the Hawaii staff of the Trust for Public Lands.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Determine the value/significance of incentives to producers and landowners to participate in voluntary agricultural land protection programs.
    2. Evaluate the potential impact of the new state Important Agricultural Lands program to produce long-term protection of agricultural land.
    3. Develop alternative prioritization strategies that can be used to target funds for acquiring agricultural conservation easements.
    4. Educate stakeholders, including government officials, non-profit staff, agricultural professionals, and landowners about the value and impact of voluntary agricultural land protection programs in Hawaii.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.