May 2021 – An Update on Rapid ‘Ōhi’a Death (ROD) in Keau’ohana Rainforest
The beautiful month of May greets us warmly! It is important to us that the community is aware of what Hawaii Environmental Restoration (HER) is doing in support of our local Hawai’i environment. We thank you again for being attentive to HER developments. Keau’ohana is alive and well considering the tragic loss in canopy caused by Rapid ‘Ōhi’a Death (ROD) since Hurricane Iselle in 2014. We are happy to share that since the lava event of 2018, ROD as dramatically slowed down in Keau’ohana, we presume due to sulfuric acids that may have had an impact on the fungus. We have not only observed very little new death occurrences, but in some cases the ‘ōhi’a trees have actually sprouted new growth!
Keau’ohana is a reservoir of rare native biodiversity, which offers the forest a certain degree of resilience; there is a variety of naturally occurring sub-canopy tree species that offer the native understory necessary shade in many areas within the site. Among others, these species include the following:
Kolea – Myrsine lessertiana