- Associated Press - Saturday, October 22, 2016

HILO, Hawaii (AP) - Hawaii agriculture officials are recommending that the quarantine on ohia trees be made permanent to help prevent the spread of a deadly fungus.

The proposal approved by the state Board of Agriculture goes to the lieutenant governor next, reported the Hawaii Tribune-Herald (https://bit.ly/2eElPAO).

It would permanently require testing and permitting for shipments of the trees to try and contain rapid ohia death on the Big Island.

Almost 50,000 acres have been impacted by the fungus so far, but it has not spread to other islands.

Officials implemented a one-year shipping ban in August 2015.

“We’ve had good leadership at the DOA,” said extension forester J.B. Friday of the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources. “They said, ‘No, we’re going to do this.’ (Rapid ohia death) was pretty fast-moving, but there was a window to do something about it.”

Maui Invasive Species Committee manager Adam Radford said during public hearings that his group’s work is “influenced by (rapid ohia death) and its potential presence on Maui.”

A permanent quarantine would impact ohia flowers, leaves, seeds, stems, twigs, cuttings, mulch, greenwaste, frass, wood, logs and soil that contained ohia.

Finished wood treated under Department of Agriculture guidelines is exempt from permitting.

Efforts to address rapid ohia death are supported and funded at the county, state and federal level.


Information from: Hawaii Tribune-Herald, https://www.hawaiitribune-herald.com/

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