Pests ravage pine woods in drought-hit S China

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, April 2, 2010
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Insects feeding on pine tree leaves are destroying the woods in drought-stricken Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, local forest protection authorities said Thursday.

The area of pine woods plagued by pine caterpillars has doubled this year to 36,000 hectares, with 2,353 hectares of that - 7.6 times the area of last year - seriously damaged, according to Luo Jitong, head of the regional forest pests prevention station.

The drought has weakened the trees' ability to resist the pine caterpillars while the dry weather and high temperatures have made ideal conditions for the pests to reproduce, Luo said.

The regional forestry department is spraying 40,000 hectares of the woods with bacteria pesticide, Luo added.

The station has forecast the range of the disaster but is not sufficiently financed to prevent it, he added.

Current regulations require local residents owning the woods be responsible for pest control, Luo said

"However, these local residents don't have the manpower in the middle of the busy farming season to do the work. Moreover, they are reluctant to buy the more expensive but environment-friendly bacteria pesticides," Luo added.

"It is time the government financed pest control to protect the pine woods ecology for the long term," he said.

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