Richard Ha writes:
It turns out that ‘ohi‘a dieout is tied to a fungus.
The American chestnut was almost wiped out by a fungus, too. But a biotech solution might save the American chestnut.
Maybe a biotech solution can be found to help with the ‘ohi‘a fungus as well.
From the Hawai‘i Tribune-Herald:
Experts call it the single most important tree for the protection and proliferation of native forests across the state.
The ohia is the most widespread, as well as arguably the most beloved and iconic, native tree in Hawaii. And for the last five years, it has been under attack by a troubling new foe that had foresters and scientists scratching their heads.
A scientific paper currently under review reports findings that the disease, known as Rapid Ohia Death, is the result of a fungal pathogen called Ceratocystis, which has been found on other plants here including Okinawan sweet potato and taro. But this is the first instance of it killing ohia.