Rapid ohia death acres expand to 50,000 on Big Island - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Rapid ohia death acres expand to 50,000 on Big Island

(Image: Hawaii News Now/file) (Image: Hawaii News Now/file)

HONOLULU (AP) - The number of Big Island acres affected by the fungal disease killing ohia trees is up to nearly 50,000.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources said Friday that's 13,000 acres more than when surveys were conducted earlier this year.

The state based its estimate on aerial surveys. It hasn't yet verified the results with ground and lab tests.

The department says the disease known as rapid ohia death hasn't shown up on other islands.

Ohia forests provide a primary habitat for numerous native plants and animals. They protect watersheds and provide water across the state.

The state says the disease threatens delicate ecosystems and could jeopardize local water supplies.

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