HILO, Hawaii (AP) - A University of Hawaii conservation laboratory is seeking the public's help in response to a fungus that has affected hundreds of thousands of Hawaii's most important trees.
Hawaii Tribune-Herald reports the disease called rapid ohia death has spread to 34,000 acres of native forest on the Big Island. The Lyon Arboretum's Seed Conservation Laboratory is asking for donations to increase its supply of ohia seeds to allow for the trees to be reintroduced in affected areas.
Lab manager Mary Chau says the money will be used to pay staff and other costs related to storing and collecting seeds from across the islands.
The lab had raised $9,500 of its $35,000 goal Monday.
The ohia tree is important to Hawaii's water supply, endangered native birds and cultural traditions like hula.