Help is needed to contain ROD in Hawaii
For the past several years, fungal pathogens, not native to Hawaii, have been infecting ʻōhiʻa trees on the Big Island of Hawaiʻi, where millions of trees have been killed. Known as Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death, or ROD, the disease was also detected in Kauaʻi in 2018.
This has raised alarms for scientists, conservationists and residents on the Hawaiian Islands as the outbreaks have implications for the islands' biodiversity, culture, and economics.
It is also yet another blow to native forest birds that feed on the blossoms of the ʻōhiʻa tree, such as the Hawaiʻi ʻAkepa. You can see where ROD has been detected on the University of Hawaii's ROD website, and sign up for their quarterly newsletters to stay informed about the latest events, resources and research.
The ʻŌhiʻa Challenge – do you have ideas?
Discovering the presence of the pathogen while trees can still be saved has been a challenge, so partners are reaching out to find low-cost, advanced technological solutions to detect Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death. Check out the ʻŌhiʻa Challenge where you could win up to $70,000 for your promising idea – and help save critical forests and ecoystems in Hawaii at the same time.