comscore Maui clear of rapid ohia death | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Hawaii News | Top News

Maui clear of rapid ohia death

WAILUKU >> Rapid ohia death has not been rediscovered after being found on Maui for the first time earlier this year, officials said.

The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources did not find evidence of the fungal disease after completing air surveys Friday, the Maui News reported .

A single ohia tree was afflicted early July with Ceratocystis huliohia on a private beach about 53 miles (85 kilometers) east of Wailuku, officials said.

The tree tested positive for the less aggressive level of the fungus, which also plagued a tree on Oahu around the same time, officials said.

“On the bright side for our island in particular is that most ohia is on protected lands and in high elevations,” said Jeff Bagshaw, communications and outreach specialist at the department.

Ohia grow on about 125 square miles in Maui, “which is a lot more than people know or assume,” Bagshaw said.

Rapid ohia death has affected vast amounts of land and thousands of trees on Hawaii Island since its detection in 2014, and the more aggressive fungus was responsible for killing 90% of the trees on the Big Island, officials said.

Quarterly aerial surveys are conducted and trees are tested across the islands to avoid an outbreak situation, officials said.

The best way to help protect ohia is to avoid injuring the trees, transporting the plants across islands and cleaning hiking materials including boot soles and vehicles, officials said. There is no known cure for the fungus, and it can be spread in soil that sticks to footwear, gear and tires.

Ohia trees are considered a keystone species that provide a habitat for endangered species and are important to Hawaii culture.

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.

Scroll Up