HILO >> A field crew is working to track the rapid ohia death fungal disease that has killed thousands of trees in Hawaii.
The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports the team visited the Hilo Forest Reserve Wednesday as a high priority portion of their mapping efforts. They say mapping is the first step toward understanding and eliminating rapid ohia death.
The report says the disease has stretched over about 75,000 acres of endemic ohia trees. According to researchers, the disease has killed more than 200,000 ohia trees in the past two years.
Once infected, the fungus spread through the trees’ vascular systems and cuts off access to nutrients and water. Researchers say symptoms can take months to manifest, and can kill trees in a matter of weeks once they do.