Rapid Ohia Death detected at Kalopa park on Big Island
State officials announced today the confirmed detection of more trees exhibiting symptoms of Rapid Ohia Death during a quarterly aerial assessment of forests on Hawaii island in late July.
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State officials announced Tuesday the confirmed detection of more trees exhibiting symptoms of Rapid Ohia Death during a quarterly aerial assessment of forests on Hawaii island in late July.
The trees in the Kalopa State Recreation Area on Hawaii island’s Hamakua Coast showed the symptoms of Ceratocystis lukuohia, the more aggressive of the two fungi associated with Rapid Ohia Death, officials said. They are roughly 12 miles from the nearest known occurrence of the fungus on the east side of the island.
After the ground sampling of three trees in the recreation area and three trees in the adjacent forest reserve, state officials from the Division of Forestry and Wildlife found five of the six samples tested positive for C. lukuohia.
DOFAW will continue to take samples, while conducting drone surveys to more accurately map out the area before determining the next steps, which could include felling the diseased trees to limit the spread of the fungal blight. Tree felling, however, must be done without harming surrounding trees, and is ideally done on a rainy day. Officials are also in discussions with an adjacent private landowner about sampling symptomatic trees on his or her property.
Kalopa State Recreation Area has been closed since mid-July for repairs and upgrades to the park’s cabins and campgrounds, with an expected completion date of May 2019.
Based on the most recent aerial surveys, an estimated 135,000 acres of ohia forest on Hawaii island currently show symptoms of Rapid Ohia Death. Earlier this year the less aggressive strain of the fungus was detected in a relatively small stand of trees on Kauai. The fungi have not yet been discovered on Maui or Oahu.