(HILO) – Recent aerial surveys of 810,000 acres of Hawaii Island forests showed that a fungal infestation of ohia trees is much greater than earlier thought. Using a helicopter and specialized survey equipment, surveyors from a collaboration of state, county and federal agencies flew over 81,000 acres, January 11 - 15, 2016. Satellite imagery of ohia forests in 2014 resulted in an estimate of 15,000 acres infected by this newly identified disease. The latest survey, pending ground verification, estimates the infection has now spread to some 34,000 acres of the ohia forest on the Big Island.

LIHU‘E, KAUA‘I -- The latest step in the state’s ongoing efforts to restore the Pu‘u Ka Pele Forest Reserve on Kaua‘i is to protect the newly out-planted koa trees within the previously burned and logged area, by carrying out an animal control hunt within a designated portion of the forest reserve. This animal control will run for two months from Feb. 8, 2016 to April 8, 2016.

HILO -- The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of Forestry and Wildlife is holding a public hearing to provide the public the opportunity to present comments on proposed changes to government forest reserve lands on the island of Hawaiʻi.

HONOLULU – The start of a new year also marks the beginning of the annual Hawai‘i Big Tree Competition. Sponsored by the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Forestry and Wildlife and American Forests, the Big Tree program focuses attention on the largest trees of particular native species, as a way to raise awareness about the importance of healthy trees and forests.