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Kamehameha Schools finalizing timber lease

August 29, 2017 - 12:05am

HILO — Kamehameha Schools says it is finalizing a lease with Hawaii Forest for 10,000 acres of timber land on the Hamakua Coast.

The company is a partnership between Paauilo-based Forest Solutions Hawaii and Edwin De Luz Trucking and Gravel, said Albert Nahale-a, KS senior director of community engagement and resources. A phone call to Forest Solutions wasn’t returned by deadline.

KS planted 12,700 acres of eucalyptus trees after acquiring about 30,000 acres of former sugar lands in the 1990s.

The previous lease was held by LHF Lopiawa, which did not seek an extension to the lease that expired Dec. 31, 2016.

About 2,800 acres were harvested under the previous lease, which went into effect in 1996, Marissa Harman, KS’ Hawaii Island asset management director, said in December.

Harman said Monday the acres already harvested may be used for other types of agriculture. She said the new lease is being structured so additional harvested lands also can be repurposed.

“They will be responsible for harvesting, remediating the conditions of the land, and working with us on long-term planning for using that land beyond timber,” Harman said. “Some of that may be transferring acreage into other diversified agriculture or community use.”

Nahale-a said KS is taking a more “holistic” approach to its landholdings.

“It’s not just an asset in isolation but part of a larger system,” he said.

Harman said between eight and 10 companies responded to a request for qualifications regarding the new lease. About half submitted proposals.

The new lease could take effect in September or October, she said.

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