Saving the Ohiʻa tree

Unknown profit model, Unknown IP model, Market Shaping Phase, Open to new members
Saving the ʻŌhiʻa tree by pre detection and understanding of the spread of the fungus.

The Problem

As the challenge conservation x states, two newly discovered invasive fungal pathogens are killing hundreds of thousands of ʻŌhiʻa trees (Metrosideros polymorpha) on Hawaii island. The reason is the ROD fungus is an invisible killer, many ʻŌhiʻa trees are found in remote sites or challenging terrain and being able to reach such sites is difficult.

Our Proposal

The solution is first finding the invisible fungus and understanding how it spread, the best way of doing that is by planting plants which are weak for the fungus to attack, take lots of ground and height coverage both on the Ōhiʻa tree and its root or underground like an Ivy. This helps to notice the fungus before it kills the Ohia tree since the weaker tree is noticed when dying quickly or change pigment before the Ohia tree show any sign of infection. Additionally, since the Ivy has a habit of growing in any structure it find, we let it grow following the height of the tree and that will determine if the fungus is really airborne or travel underground. This solution can be applied in a farm to protect the crops when the unnoticeable deadly fungus is an issue. By planting weak plants around our farm in circle or rectangle, we can get a natural alarm system and notice the fungus killing our crops on the weak plants and ask help from biologist and solved our problem. I do not see a better solution here, plus planting a plant to save a plant is very good in terms of conservation of the nature of the environment, increase our green environment and protect the wild life.

We Assume that...

I am assuming that since the place of preservation is vast, many volunteer are available to plant the tree.

I am assuming that the fungus is either airborne or travel through ground or soil.

I am assuming that the fungus will kill the bet plant way before than the Ōhiʻa tree.

Constraints to Overcome

The current method of detection of the ROD fungi involves sample collection over challenging and rugged terrain and then lab analysis. This takes too much time and effort and the after the analysis, the ROD fungus might not be found. This project solves these problems because it tells us from which tree to take samples, which tree needs supervision and possible diagnosis of the tree before the lab report. Meaning, an Ohi’a tree which is surrounded by infected plants or plants that change their colours implies exposure to the ROD fungi. This indication can speed up the detection of the ROD fungus. Currently, the total average cost per tree is 57.00 USD. If we test 100 trees to collect samples from all the 100 trees and test it in the lab, the total average cost per 100 trees becomes 5,700.00 USD. Keep in mind that the lab test may show that 1 tree have ROD fungi if not any. This project tells us from which tree to take samples saving about 5,640.00 USD at best in this scenario.

Current Work

This solution is very tangible and realistic because it connects two known and proved science facts together in a very simple way. According to references like I mentioned above, the Ohia tree is asymptomatic trees that means it is a tree without signs of infection. It is a known fact that there are many weak trees that show symptoms when they are infected by ROD fungi. So, combining those will create a new method to prevent the ROD fungus enters into the tree. There will not be a negative impact on the tree caused by the solution. The solution can be used at any time the client wishes to use or test because there it does not take any prototype device. All required is a big number of voluntaries who are willing to plant trees in the Hawaii tree.

Current Needs

The next step is building the prototype and testing it. I need funding and collaboration to do it.