Sunday, 17 October 2010

The Portuguese Pine Tree Nematode

The eradication of the Portuguese pine tree nematode "won't be possible anymore" and in the centre of the country more than 100 thousand hectares are affected, these are the main ideas defended in a seminar in Coimbra, according to the news agency Lusa.

For the President of the National Federation of the Forest Owners Associations, Vasco Campos, "the situation is very concerning and hasn't been a bullet-point of attention".

"In the Centre Region (where two new infected areas were spotted), hundreds of thousands of trees were affected", stated Vasco Campos to the journalists, after intervening on one of the seminars regarding the "Pine Tree Wood Nematode - What future for the Portuguese Pine Forest".

Pine Tree Disease: production at stake

The Pine Tree Nematode is a disease caused by a microscopic worm transported by an insect that contaminates the trees where this same insect lands, affecting mostly the branches and upper parts of the tree.

In Portugal, there is a plan to fight this contamination but, Vasco Campos states that, "needs adjustments" and that the actions taken "aren't enough" to fight the situation.

"We have to act in a much faster fashion, united and properly defined, what's happening in the Centre Region is too serious for us to not start cutting off the infected trees", he said.

Vasco Campos defends that the Government action must approach the Pine Tree Forest particularities in the Centre Region, characterised by "absent owners, micro-parcels and forest property organisational links yet too weak".

The situation reached a point where "eradication is just impossible to accomplish", an opinion defended by Edmundo Sousa, forest engineer from the National Institute of Biological Resources, who approached the issue in an investigative perspective.

For the researcher, "the great action" that must be taken is to "cut affected trees whilst the insect is still inside them, i.e., winter time".

"But we cannot only just cut trees, it is urgent to destroy the remaining, the local remaining where insect exists", he alerted.

Edmundo Sousa considers that in the Centre Region, "the biggest problem is the operational strategy", and it is primordial to financially help the owners.

"We have to travel to the country side more often in order to help the owners, the city council offices or the forest associations must develop mechanisms in order to destroy the remaining", he said.

UE forbids Portuguese wood exportations

Also Luis Dias, from the Farmers Confederation of Portugal, said "from the owners perspective, there has been some negative discrimination against them", stated whilst claiming more help for the yielders, namely financial support.

The yielders "must have an active management in what concerns eradication of infected trees, so they can act at the reforestation level". 

"There are tools, under the EU (for financial support) that, for the Portuguese Government, are not reachable", he referred.

The new PRODER (in Portuguese) - Program for the Rural Development "cannot be a complicated net of bureaucracy where one can never have access to anything", he criticised. 

According to Telma Ferreira, from the National Forest Authority, regarding the Pine Tree Disease Combat Plan, this year "2608 analysis were taken", from which "70 scored positive", most of them (60) situated "in the Centre Region".

Translated from a 2009 article I had the opportunity to read in 

I found a very good book you might want to read - "The Vector Insects of the Pine Tree Wood Nematode", containing 3 chapters. The first dedicated to the nematode B. Xylophilus, the second with information about vectors' biology and behaviour in North America, Asia and Europe, ways of fighting it and preventing contamination. Regarding M. gallopovincialis, there are elements observed in some analysed samples. In the last chapter there's a discussed list of species associated to the P. Pinaster maduro, in Portugal.

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