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'Ōhi'a: Tree of Life
Spring 2021

------- YOU ARE INVITED -------

Welcome to Forest Fridays, a virtual conversation about the magnificence and myriad native forests on Kauaʻi. We'll talk about rare birds and butterflies and about the endemic and, often, rare flora creating one of the most bio-diverse and imperiled ecosystems on the planet.
 
Our second Forest Friday event will take place Friday, April 9 at 4:00 p.m. Joining us will be Andre Raine with Archipelago Research and Conservation to talk about the endangered seabirds of Kaua'i and Dustin Wolkis with National Tropical Botanical Garden to talk about forest seed banking initiatives. Haylin Chock with Kaua'i Invasive Species Committee will share insights into the Hawaiian word, "hua" and how it relates to eggs and seeds and all things springtime! 

We'll be live streaming on the Kauaʻi Invasive Species Committee's Facebook page
here. Or you can email saveohia@hawaii.edu, and we'll send you a link to join us on Zoom.
NEW RAPID ʻŌHIʻA DEATH DETECTIONS IN KŌKEʻE.
 
Since the announcement in December that a single tree within Nā Pali Kona Forest Reserve the Kokeʻe area tested positive for the more virulent pathogen known to cause Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death, five more trees have tested positive for Ceratocystis lukuohia. All are located on western ridges.

Three of the trees were cut down and wrapped in tarps to reduce the spread of the pathogen in the wind. Three others were left standing, because it was determined that their felling would wound other healthy 'ōhi'a. (The fungal pathogen that causes Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death enters 'ōhi'a through wounds.) However, these trees were wrapped in a special material to help contain the fungus and prevent its release into the environment.

Signs have been placed near all the trees to alert forest users to the presence of diseased trees. Even dead trees can still contain the live fungus, so it's recommended to steer clear of any such trees--do not touch, sit on, cut, or remove any portion of diseased trees. The fungus can move around the island in mud, so forest users are requested to practice good bio-sanitation habits
. To help prevent the spread of Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death, experts recommend brushing all soil off shoes, including slippers. Use 70% rubbing alcohol to disinfect footwear and any gear used in the forest. It’s also recommended forest users wash mud off vehicles with a high-pressure hose or washer.

Regular aerial surveys will continue to be conducted to watch for any other possible suspect trees in the immediate area.
 
Through March, the total number of ʻōhiʻa across Kauaʻi that have tested positive for C. lukuohia was 147 and the number testing positive for C. huliohia was 100. Two trees have tested positive for both pathogens. Another 217 trees were sampled but molecular testing revealed no detection for either pathogen.
 


You Can Help Save 'Ōhi'a

1) Avoid injuring ʻōhiʻa. Wounds serve as entry points for the fungus and increase the odds that the tree will become infected and die from Rapid 'Ōhi'a Death. Avoid pruning, weed-whacking, blazing trails, and stepping on roots wherever possible.

2) Clean gear and tools, including shoes and clothes before and after entering the forest and areas where ʻōhiʻa may be present. Brush all dirt off tools and gear, then spray with 70% rubbing alcohol. Wash clothes with hot soapy water and dry on high heat.

3) Wash your vehicle with a high-pressure hose if you’ve been off-roading or have picked up mud from driving. Clean all mud off tires--including mountain bikes and motorcycles--and your vehicle's undercarriage.

4) Don’t move ʻōhiʻa wood or ʻōhiʻa parts, including adjacent soil. The disease can be spread to new areas by moving plants, plant parts, and wood from infected areas to non-infected areas.

5) Keep your eyes open. If you see ʻōhiʻa with a limb or crown turning brown, take a picture and contact Kaua‘i Invasive Species Committee via email (saveohia@hawaii.edu) or phone (808-821-1490). Be sure to provide details on the tree's exact location. Samples of the wood must be taken by trained technicians and tested in a laboratory to confirm the presence of the ROD fungi.

Sharing is Caring. Please forward this newsletter to friends and colleagues--anyone who is in a position to help educate neighbors and visitors about ʻōhiʻa and Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death.

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