Protect Agricultural Lands

0‘ahu’s subtropical climate and year round growing season provides ideal conditions for agriculture. However, 0‘ahu’s topography, with the Wai‘anae mountain range to the west and the Ko‘olau mountain range running along its eastern coast, ensures that much of the island is steeply sloped. Agriculture is therefore focused in the fertile area between the ranges and within smaller coastal valleys.

A century ago, much of Hawaii’s agricultural lands were used for sugarcane and pineapple production. In central 0‘ahu, many of those lands are converting to diversified-crop agriculture or suburban use. Today, Hawaii still imports 85-90% of its food (Office of Planning—Department of Business Economic Development & Tourism, and Department of Agriculture—State of Hawaii 2012, ii). Stakeholders consistently prioritized a move toward a more sustainable and self-reliant agricultural system on 0‘ahu in which farms cultivate locally consumed food crops.

Approximately 60,000 acres (15%) of the study area is zoned for agriculture and half of that is considered prime agricultural lands.

Table 10.1 Conservation Opportunity Lands by Conservation Value

Greenprint Value

High Priority Areas for Protection (% of Study Area)

High Priority Areas for Protection (% of O’ahu)

Protect Agricultural Lands

27,737 (10%)

38,928 (10%)

Preserve Cultural and Historic Places

88,097 (30%)

98,760 (26%)

Protect Coastal Regions

2,594 (1%)

3,849 (1%)

Protect Natural Habitats

35,342 (12%)

46,749 (12%)

Increase Recreation and Public Access Opportunities

14,590 (5%)

18,028 (5%)

Preserve and Enhance View Planes

11,678 (4%)

18,857 (5%)

Protect Water Quality and Quantity

66,230 (23%)

101,887 (27%)

Notes

  • * “High-priority” areas reflect a score of “5” on a scale of 0-5 for the Greenprint. There may also be overlap between values.
  • ** Includes North Shore Greenprint value “Protect Natural Habitats for Plants and Animals.”

Table 10.2 Conservation Opportunity Off-shore Areas by Conservation Value

Greenprint Value

High Priority Areas for Protection (% of Off-Shore Study Area)

High Priority Areas for Protection (% of Off- Shore О‘ah и )

Protect Cultural and Historic Places

n/a

64 (0.03%)

Protect Coastal Regions

36,376 (24%)

40,916 (22%)

Protect Natural Habitats

1,017 (1%)

3,843 (2%)

Increase Recreation and Public Access Opportunities

860 (1%)

3,476 (2%)

Preserve and Enhance View Planes

1,418 (1%)

1462 (0.08%)

Protect Water Quality and Quantity

1,531 (1%)

1,611 (0.08%)

Notes

High-priority areas reflect a score of “5” on a scale of 0-5 for the Greenprint. There may also be overlap between values.

  • ** “Off-shore 0‘ahu” includes 182,763 off-shore acres studied across the North Shore and O'ahu Greenprints.
  • *Includes North Shore Greenprint value “Protect Natural Habitats for Plants and Animals.”

This map reveals the results for the Protect Agricultural Lands value. Criteria considered included: protect lands to grow more taro and other traditional Hawaiian crops; protect farmlands; protect prime and important agricultural lands; identify lands zoned for agriculture; and protect large scale agriculture dedicated to year- round local consumption, including fish, produce and animal products. The greatest weight was applied to protecting prime and important agricultural lands, protecting farmlands, and protecting lands to grow traditional Hawaiian crops.

About 28,000 acres of land are identified as high priority (9.5% of the study area) for this value. Just over 1,200 acres have already been conserved (less than 5% of the study area). Across the island of 0‘ahu, nearly 40,000 acres have been identified as high priority for protecting agricultural lands. Outside of the developed areas of 0‘ahu, these conservation priority areas extend across much of the island, particularly in central 0‘ahu, North Shore, and the Leeward coast.

Preserve Cultural and Historic Places

The Trust for Public Land map identifies areas identified as priority for the protection of cultural and historic places. The five criteria informing the development of the map were done through public outreach. Through the questionnaire, participants shared places throughout the island that they felt are in need of protection, including Hawaiian cultural and traditional agricultural sites such as lo‘i, fishponds, and places necessary for cultural and religious practices. The resulting criteria were each weighted equally. These criteria include significant archeological, historic, sacred, religious sites and burial grounds; existing fishponds; historic ahupua‘a (sustainable land units); cultural trails; and traditional Hawaiian agricultural zones. The equal weighting came from the belief that no cultural or historical site could be determined to be of a higher priority than another. For example, how can we determine that an ancient burial site is somehow more or less important than a current place of worship?

About 88,000 acres of land are identified as high priority (30% of the study area) for this value. Nearly 24,000 acres of land are identified as high priority for protecting traditional Hawaiian areas where cultural activities take place (8% of the study area). About 16,000 acres of high priority cultural and historical acres have already been conserved (18% of the study area). Across the island of 0‘ahu, nearly 100,000 acres of land have been identified as high priority for cultural and historic preservation. The map includes all cultural sites, not just ancient cultural sites. All sites on the Hawaii register of historic places are included in this map. Hawaiian cultural practices are dependent upon ‘aina, wai, and kai (land, fresh water, and ocean), resources. This pattern is evident in the high concentrations of priority lands identified within our watersheds, and near our streams, coastline, and fishponds. As a general premise, we recognize that our natural resources are also our cultural resources. However, for the purposes of these mapping exercises, it is helpful to place these resources in separate maps.

 
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