Hawaii looks for money to fight disease killing ohia trees - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hawaii looks for money to fight disease killing ohia trees

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By MARINA STARLEAF RIKER
Associated Press

HONOLULU (AP) - A fungus has killed thousands of native ohia trees on Hawaii's Big Island, and state lawmakers are pushing for more money to figure out how to stop it.

Hawaii lawmakers agreed to give $300,000 to help fund research to stop the fungus during a hearing Friday. The money could be used to hire more researchers and purchase new equipment. Lawmakers say they're still deciding which agency will receive the money.

The forest disease has infected thousands of trees on Hawaii's Big Island and is quickly spreading. Right now, there is no treatment to protect the trees from the disease, and there's no cure once they're infected.

Ohia trees cover more than 1 million acres statewide, and are considered the most important tree for keeping the state's watersheds healthy.

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