Honolulu’s Exceptional Tree Program

The Exceptional Tree Act – Act 105: In 1975 the Hawaii State Legislature found that rapid development had led to the destruction of many of the State’s exceptional trees and passed Act 105. 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.

City and County of Honolulu

On Oahu, Honolulu’s Arborist Advisory Committee is overseen by the Department of Parks and Recreation’s Division of Urban Forestry. It is a nine member committee that meets monthly, meetings are announces a week in advance. The committee includes; the Director of Planning and Permitting, one certified arborist, one landscape architect, and six specially selected individuals who demonstrate expertise in urban forestry, community beautification, or ecological sciences.

Criteria for Exceptional Tree Status

  • Historic or Cultural Value
  • Age
  • Rarity
  • Location
  • Size
  • Esthetic quality
  • Endemic status

How to Nominate A Tree

If you would like to nominate a tree, or stand of trees for exception status complete an Exceptional Tree and Palm Nomination Application and submit. The committee will then review the application, inspect the tree, and make a recommendation to the City Council if the tree is deamed worthy of Exceptional Tree status.

Once Exceptional, Always Exceptional.

Once a tree has Exceptional Tree Status it remains exceptional for life. If a tree gains exceptional status approval from the committee is required for any pruning or tree work to be done. This might be unfortunate if the tree is on your personal property, but paying to have these trees worked on is a tax deductible expense up to $3,000. On Oahu there are quite a few trees with exceptional status, view the complete list, which includes the common name, Species and Number of Trees, Location and TMK of each tree or stand of trees. Exceptional Tree Program Website

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