comscore Rapid ohia death discovered on Oahu for first time | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

Rapid ohia death discovered on Oahu for first time

  • COURTESY DLNR

    A team of natural resource managers from the Oahu Invasive Species Committee and the Koolau Mountain Watershed Partnership recently sampled a dead ohia tree on private land in a remote area in the Koolau Mountains above Pearl City.

Rapid ohia death has been detected for the first time on Oahu, state officials reported this afternoon.

The disease was discovered on a dead ohia tree on Kamehameha Schools land in a remote area in the Koolau Mountains above Pearl City.

The find triggered “a rapid response” effort that will include additional helicopter, drone and ground surveys to determine how widespread the disease is, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

A partnership of state, federal, university, and non-government organizations have been conducting systematic helicopter and ground surveys to look for rapid ohia death since 2016.

Officials said a sample of the ohia tree was analyzed by a U.S. Department of Agriculture lab in Hilo, which confirmed the presence of Ceratocystis huliohia, the less aggressive of the two species associated with rapid ohia death.

On Oahu, 150 dead or unhealthy ohia trees have been sampled for the disease in the past three years, and all have been negative until now, officials said.

The remote location of the infected tree means it is highly unlikely to have been spread by people, officials said.

Researchers are still trying to understand the source of the two Ceratocystis pathogens and are looking at any possible patterns of dispersal.

On Oahu, the ohia tree is found throughout the Koolau and Waianae mountain ranges across some 50,000 acres. The tree serves as a keystone species that helps with recharging the island’s aquifer, providing habitat for endangered species and is used for cultural purposes.

Comments (0)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature

Scroll Up