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Pests Invade Kerman Jungles

Pests Invade Kerman JunglesPests Invade Kerman Jungles

Some 400-year-old jungles in south of Kerman Province (located in central Iran) are expected to suffer gradual death due to drought and the Loranthus pest invasion.

The forest reserves have been affected by natural disasters as a result of drastic reduction in precipitation and unprecedented consecutive drought causing pests to attack the jungles.

There are 520 hectares of forests in the region which are threatened by continuous drought, an official in Kerman’s department of natural resources and watershed management said.

“Irano-Turanian forests date 400 years ago, covering 280 hectares, however, today they are not as green and lush as before due to pest attack and diseases”, IRNA quoted Hossein Morad-Karimi as saying.

Forty percent of the Irano-Turanian forests are affected by the semi-parasitic Loranthus pest and

10% of the trees in the infested areas have withered, Morad-Karimi added.

  Semi-Parasitic

The Loranthus pest is a semi-parasitic disease that places its host inside the tree. It uses the tree as its main source of food till it rots and dies. Birds are responsible for its spread. Having an adhesive form, its seed sticks to the tree from which a new shoot grows, causing the host tree to wither away after some years.

There are different kinds of trees in the Irano-Turanian forests such as pistacia atlantica, amygdalus scoparia, etc. They are now affected by insects and Loranthus pest and will be annihilated in future if the problem is not addressed urgently. In case of total destruction, it will take more than 200 years, in optimal conditions, for such forests to re-grow.

Some measures have been taken to fight the problem in the last seven years. One action is to cut and burn the infected branches, but a budget of about $300,000 is required to eliminate all kinds of insects and pests from the forests, he said.

  Big Threat

With forest cover rapidly declining and thus threatening the region’s biodiversity, officials have been forced to take quick and effective action. But despite the initiatives taken, degradation persists.

The country has about 14 million hectares of jungle, which makes it one of the poorest in terms of vegetation, Mohammad-Reza Tabesh, Majlis representative, says. While global standards consider eight hectares of jungle per individual, it is two hectares per person in Iran due to the widespread destruction of forests and rangelands in the past two decades. One-third of the jungles have vanished in the past 40 years as a result of drought, pests, pollution, and fires. Sadly enough, man is a key factor in destruction of forests in Iran. Land mafia has taken over!

Environmental issues, especially forests, need national will and public support. Only the government and people’s cooperation can protect the precious environment.

 

Financialtribune.com