DLNR Hopes Raising Awareness Will Restrain ROD
Now that Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death has spread to Maui and Oʻahu, the Department of Land and Natural Resources is hoping that raising awareness will help combat the epidemic.
The department just held its third annual ʻŌhiʻa Love Fest over the weekend.
Itʻs a seven-hour-long celebration that aims to inform the public on how to prevent the spread of ROD, which has already killed hundreds of thousands of ʻōhiʻa trees on Hawaiʻi Island.
“(The event) is the single largest public event we stage to really inform people of all ages what they can do to help stem the spread of the fungus,” University of Hawaiʻi forester JB Friday said in a press release.
According to the release, last yearʻs event attracted an estimated crowd of 2,800.
The festival featured various activities and presentations, including a demonstration on how to sanitize vehicles when leaving a forest.
“Decontamination procedures for footwear and vehicles are an important component of what we ask all visitors to our forests to practice,” Friday said.
“Hunters, hikers, bird-watchers, backpackers, naturalists, cultural practitioners- anyone who enjoys Hawaiian forests where ʻōhiʻa is the keystone tree species- can really help in the effort to stop ROD in its tracks.”
Event organizers also gave attendees free decontamination kits.
While intensive research on ROD continues, Friday believes additional funding is needed for the fight against further transmission.
However, He hopes arming the public with information will encourage people to take action.