Aloha Friday

Hau’oli Pō’alima

Happy Friday! The picture was taken at the Laupāhehoe gulch along the Hāmākua coast on the Big Island of Hawai’i. It’s the transition area where prominent features of Mauna Kea become more visible. This is the northern windward side of the island where forests of eucalyptus trees grow. many Mahi’ai (farms) are located here. Large cattle ranches are located here on sprawling acres of grasslands.

The climate here is very different from the southern windward side. The vegetation, trees, and landscape are all uluwehiwehi (lush, verdent). Whereas the Mauna Loa slopes are primarily forests of ‘Ōhi’a Lehua trees. The ‘Ōhi’a Lehua trees grow on fresh lava beds. They have large red blossoms that look like fuzz balls. They come in rare yellow and white colors.

Lately, there has been a invasive fungus called Rapid ‘Ōhi’a Death (ROD) that have been killing the trees in great numbers. We’ve heard reports of a beetle that bores in the bark exposing it to the fungus, to wild pigs digging at the roots causing the fungus to spread.

During the lava breakout last year in Leilani many of the affected tress were destroyed slowing the spread of the disease. Our ‘Ōhi’a trees have been spared so far. I don’t know if that is luck, or that we live in a gated fenced property.

On Mauna Kea the protests against the TMT continue. The protesters have swelled to 800-1200 people estimates say. The governor has authorized the use of excessive force to remove protesters from blocking the access road. This could escalate to unfortunate results. We’re praying this does not happen.

The weather is in a typical summer pattern. The mornings are clear, sunny and hot. Great views of the mountains. By midday the clouds start to build and afternoon scattered showers appear and everything cools off. Bracing for the weekend. Aloha!

 

 

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Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death

ohia

ʻOhia mai ā pau pono nā ʻike kumu o Hawaiʻi – gather up every bit of the basic knowledge of Hawaiʻi.

ohiaFlower

Hawai’i’s beloved ʻōhiʻa lehua trees are under attack by a fungal disease that has been spreading throughout south east Hawai’i .  It has the potential to kill the trees statewide.

We have many of the trees growing on our property.  We have both the common red blossom tree and the rare yellow blossom tree.  Already, thousands of acres of the trees have died, and there doesn’t seem to be nothing to stop the spread of the fungus.

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The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources has some useful information about what the fungus is and how to prevent the spread.  Called Ceratocystis wilt, the university has plotted a map where the fungus has spread.

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The ʻōhiʻa lehua trees are native only to Hawai’i and must be protected.  So far, our trees have been spared, but I fear it’s only a matter of time before the fungus reaches our trees.

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I took this Arial photo of the  ʻōhiʻa forest in my neighborhood.  You can see where the lush green is being replaced with a grayish brown color.  It will be very sad should the forest die and we lose another indigenous species to the islands.

March 1, 2016

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‘Ohi’a Flower

 

 

 

 

 

 

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