History and Laws In 1975, the Hawai'i State Legislature found that rapid development had led to the destruction of many of the State's exceptional trees and passed Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 58 (Act 105, Session Laws of Hawaii 1975) - The Exceptional Tree Act. The Act recognizes that trees are valuable for their beauty, and they perform crucial ecological functions. It mandates each county to establish a County Arborist Advisory Committee which enacts regulations to protect trees of exceptional stature. Each county has its own program, set of rules and operating guidelines.
This legislation was passed after dogged advocacy and public education efforts by community groups including the Mokihana Club of Kauai and The Kauai Outdoor Circle. The law protects designated trees -- both public and private -- from improper trimming and unnecessary removal. The law also encourages property owners --both public and private -- to properly maintain designated trees and offers private owners a tax deduction to offset the costs associated with maintaining Exceptional Trees on their property.
Today The Outdoor Circle helps expand the number of protected trees and helps document the positive impact Hawaii's trees have on our local environment. The Kauai County Arborist Advisory Committee has the following powers and duties:
Research, prepare & recommend to the County Council exceptional trees to be protected by ordinance or regulation.
Advise property owners about the preservation and enhancement of exceptional trees.
Recommend to the County Council appropriate protective ordinances, regulations and procedures.
Review all actions deemed by the County Council to endanger exceptional trees.
What is an Exceptional Tree? An exceptional tree is “a tree, stand or grove of trees with historic or cultural value, or that by reason of age, rarity, location, size, aesthetic quality or endemic status, is designated by a county arborist advisory committee as worthy of preservation.”
Where are Hawai`i's Exceptional Trees? There are hundreds of Exceptional Trees found throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Check out the Map of Hawaii Exceptional Trees HERE The Catalog of the varieties of trees on the statewide list is HERE
EXCEPTIONAL TREE IMAGE GALLERY HOW TO NOMINATE AN EXCEPTIONAL TREE Get Involved and Help Grow the Exceptional Tree list Our volunteers are currently working to verify each tree on this list, document their growth, and identify new trees worthy of Exceptional Tree status. This is a major data collection effort. Click here to find out more about how we are collecting our data and to get involved in the effort. How to Get a Tree Designated as Exceptional? In order for a tree to be deemed exceptional, an Exceptional Tree Nomination Form must be filled out. A committee of experts overseen by each county reviews Exceptional Tree nominations and makes recommendations to each County Council for designation of qualified trees. Qualified trees accepted by the respective County Council is added to the list of Exceptional Trees maintained in the County Code.
You can nominate a tree in Kauai County, HERE Maui County City and County of Honolulu Kaua`i County Hawai`i County How do I claim the Exceptional Tree Tax Deduction? - $3,000 can be claimed once every three consecutive tax years. - The claim cannot exceed the amount deemed reasonably necessary by a certified arborist. - This amount must be on an affidavit and attached to the homeowner's tax return. - The affidavit must include: 1) The type of tree 2) Location of the tree 3) Description and amount of expenditures made to maintain the tree 4) The affidavit must be notarized