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U.S. Forest Service
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United States Department of Agriculture

Forest Health News 2018

EXPLORE Story Map for Rapid Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death

By Bruce Moltzan, USDA Forest Service


April 2018

Rapid ohia death

Dead canopy at Puu Kuliu. Photo by: Molly Solomon.

An invasive disease that is new to science and new to Hawai‘i has killed hundreds of thousands of ‘ōhi‘a trees across more than 50,000 acres of forests and residential areas on the Hawai‘i Island. Ōhi‘a (Metrosideros polymorpha) is a dominant native tree species which occupies 80% of Hawaiian forests. This keystone species is both a primary succession and old-growth species, occurring in dry, mesic and wet forests from sea level to 9,000 ft. The invasive fungal pathogen (Ceratocystis spp.) causing Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death infects and quickly kills ‘ōhi‘a, threatening ‘ōhi‘a trees statewide. For more information on this aggressive, tree killing pathogen and its impacts on ‘ōhi‘a, please visit the USDA Forest Service Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death story map.