HONOLULU (KHON2) — More Rapid Ohia Death (ROD) occurred throughout the state, according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources.
On Hawaii Island, over 100 trees have tested positive for ROD in the Laupahoehoe Forest Reserve. A small, but earlier, outbreak in November 2016 was effectively contained.
Disease samples are being analyzed to help understand whether this is spread from the original diseased trees or whether the disease has been reintroduced from other areas.
On Kauai, more diseased trees in the area of the island’s first detection have been found, as well as in new locations on the island’s north shore. Due to detections of Ceratocystis lukuohia (the more aggressive of the two ROD fungi) near Moalepe, Kuilau and Powerline Trails in Wailua, extra care should be taken to clean boots and gear after hiking in these areas.
On Oahu, a fifth detection of C. huliohia, the less aggressive species of fungus, was made on the popular Poamoho trail. Since tree removal was not feasible, managers felled and tarped the tree to prevent the fungus from spreading in the environment. Hikers and hunters should not disturb this signed management area and be sure to clean their boots and gear before and after entering the area.
On Maui, a single tree infected with C. huliohia was detected and removed on in July 2019. Ongoing surveys have found no new disease.
No detections have been made on Molokai and Lanai.
With many natural areas re-opening and yesterday’s resumption of interisland travel, DLNR and its partners remind forest users to clean their boots, vehicles and equipment of any dirt and soil and spray with a 70% alcohol solution to ensure they are not transporting the fungus which causes ROD.
“With our ability now to visit and hike on neighbor islands, it is more important than ever to remind people that they can accidentally spread diseases and weeds unless precautions are taken. As COVID-19 very effectively demonstrates protecting our way of life and our natural resources in Hawai‘i requires everyone’s care and participation,” said DLNR Chair Suzanne Case.
Since being first detected, ROD killed hundreds of thousands of trees spread over more than 50,000 acres of forest. Over the past few months, field crews have continued sampling for ROD in ohia forests and the lab at the USDA Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center in Hilo continues processing high-priority samples.
Updated island maps, ROD outreach materials and virtual activities (list of different online events and webinars) are available at www.rapidohiadeath.org.
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