Damage caused by an exotic forest pest, Quadrastichus
erythrinae Kim, is under control after it ravaged coral
trees in some places in south China, according to an official with
the State Forestry Administration (SFA) in Beijing on Monday.
The insect Quadrastichus erythrinae Kim was identified
and named in 2004, and is found mainly in Mauritius, Hawaii and
Singapore. It eats vegetation and has a high reproductive capacity
and short life cycle. It made its first appearance in Shenzhen in
south China's Guangdong
Province and was identified as the cause of death of local
Erythrina variegate, or coral trees, in July.
By October 19, the insect had been identified in Sanya and
Wanning in southern China's Hainan
Province and Xiamen in southeast China's Fujian
Province, Wei Diansheng, director of SFA's Department of
According to Wei, the Indian coral tree, the insect's main
victim, has important herbal qualities. In recent years, Guangdong
and Fujian provinces introduced many saplings of the species, which
serve as ready fodder for the insect.
Zhao Liangping, an official in charge of pest prevention with
the SFA, said many measures have been taken to bring the plague
under effective control, such as the use pesticide, pruning
diseased leaves and branches, and burning ailing trees.
Shenzhen and other areas stricken by the plague are monitoring
affected trees to contain the spread, Zhao said.
According to sources with the SFA, forest pests cause 88 billion
yuan (US$11 billion) in losses annually, of which losses caused by
Quadrastichus erythrinae Kim and other exotic pests
account for 60 percent.
"To eliminate exotic pests, we should concentrate on quarantine
and monitoring. As for preventing an attack by domestic pests, we
should try to broaden the variety of plants so as to enhance their
resistance to disease," said Wu Jian, an engineer with the SFA.
(Xinhua News Agency October 25, 2005)