Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death Seed Banking Initiative

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The Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death Seed Banking Initiative is a new project that builds on the momentum of #OhiaLove. Thanks to funding from the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, UH Lyon Arboretum will be leading efforts to expand capacity for collection and banking of ʻōhiʻa seeds across all islands in response to the Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death crisis. The ROD Seed Banking Initiative has two parts:

Community Involvement in ʻŌhiʻa Seed Conservation
In 2016, the Hawaiʻi Seed Bank Partnership (HSBP) developed seed collection protocols and a statewide collection strategy for ʻōhiʻa. With this structure in place, we can expand our efforts and scale up seed collection – with your help! We’ll do this by offering ʻŌhiʻa Seed Conservation Workshops on each island, free of charge and open to the local community. These provide training on how to properly collect, handle, and process ʻōhiʻa seeds, without doing harm to trees or forests, using methods that protect seed viability and ensure conservation value for future restoration. HTA funding also supports emergency seed banking of these ʻōhiʻa seeds at HSBP facilities on multiple islands. We invite you to learn more about the workshops and join our efforts!

This project is focused on collecting seeds from wild (not cultivated) ʻōhiʻa trees. Do you have a special ʻōhiʻa tree in your yard and want to save its seeds? No worries! You can download the PDF of our Landowner’s Guide to Storing ʻŌhiʻa Seeds to learn low-tech, low-cost methods for banking seeds at home.

Rare Plant Conservation on Hawaiʻi Island
The core partner of Lyon’s Hawaiian Rare Plant Program is the Plant Extinction Prevention Program (PEPP), which works with the rarest of the rare: species with less than 50 individual plants remaining in the wild. There are 40 PEPP species on Hawaiʻi Island, where severe habitat alteration by ROD stands to have devastating effects on rare plant populations. It is important for PEPP to rapidly collect seeds from as many remaining rare plants as possible and secure them at Lyon’s Seed Conservation Lab. Funds are supporting increased PEPP collections on Hawaiʻi Island and storage of those seeds at Lyon Arboretum.

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