USDA Forest Service

Pacific Southwest Research Station

Pacific Southwest
Research Station

800 Buchanan Street
Albany, CA 94710-0011
(510) 883-8830
United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.

Research Topics Tree Mortality

Rapid Ohia Death

Aerial view of National Forest System land in California with green trees mixed with brown dead trees.

Stands of Hawaii's keystone endemic tree, ohia lehua (Metrosideros polymorpha), are experiencing alarming levels of mortality, more than 90 percent in some cases, across large areas of Hawaii Island. Ohia accounts for 50 percent of all trees, native or non-native, and 50 percent of the total area of Hawaii Island.

Rapid Ohia Death (ROD) is a plant disease that has killed millions of mature ohia trees on Hawaii Island during the last several years, and is a high priority issue for all natural resource and agricultural agencies working in the state of Hawaii.

Although large areas are infected with the disease, the majority of the State’s ohia forests remain healthy and free of ROD. Scientists, land managers, and policy makers together are working hard to find solutions to control the disease and protect Hawaii’s remaining healthy native forests.    



  • Keith, L. M.; Hughes, R. F.; Sugiyama, L. S.; Heller, W. P.; Bushe, B. C.; Friday, J. B. 2015. First Report of Ceratocystis Wilt on ˋŌhiˋa (Metrosideros polymorpha). Plant Disease. 99(9): 1276.
  • Mortenson, Leif A.; Flint Hughes, R.; Friday, James B.; Keith, Lisa M.; Barbosa, Jomar M.; Friday, Nathanael J.; Liu, Zhanfeng; Sowards, Travis G. 2016. Assessing spatial distribution, stand impacts and rate of Ceratocystis fimbriata induced ‘ōhi‘a (Metrosideros polymorpha) mortality in a tropical wet forest, Hawai'i Island, USA. Forest Ecology and Management. 377: 83-92.