Number of trees suffering from Rapid Ohia Death dramatically increases

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According to a statewide survey, the number of ohia trees on Hawaii Island affected by a deadly fungus is growing.

The Dept. of Land and Natural Resources reported Friday that the number of trees suffering from the fungal disease Rapid Ohia Death now spans nearly 50,000 acres. That’s up from 13,000 earlier this year.

“This is very, very new to us,” said Rob Hauff, DOFAW Protection forester. “This fungi that is actually killing the ohia trees hasn’t been here before. We just discovered last year that it’s actually this particular fungi species.”

The culturally significant ohia covers more than 865,000 acres across the state and the trees are extremely important to our native wildlife and watersheds.

So far, the disease has not shown up on other islands. There is a quarantine in place that does not allow ohia to be taken off Hawaii Island without a permit.

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