China provinces step up fight against pests

Updated: 2010-04-15 01:15
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JINAN: Forestry authorities in east China's Shandong Province have ordered prompt reports on the spread of the American white moth in order to prevent the devastation of crops and forests.

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The insect had been found in 1,221 townships in 16 cities by April 1,  compared with only 976 townships at the same time last year, and the pest was advancing, according to the provincial forestry bureau.

Infestation of the American white moth could cover an area as big as 267,000 hectares, 33,000 hectares more than last year, Jia Wanzhi, vice governor of Shandong Province, said at a provincial meeting on American white moths control Wednesday.

All new infestations, once detected, must be immediately reported to local forestry branches, which must report within 48 hours to local governments and higher forestry authorities, according to an emergency plan published by the provincial forestry bureau.

Dubbed the "forest locust," the insects can destroy more than 300 plants and consume the leaves of two hectares of poplars within two days.

The Shandong Provincial Government launched an action plan in late March to train 8 million people to fight the pest, and established 140 professional monitoring teams each of 1,500 people, and improved facilities at 37 monitoring stations.

Bureau experts said aerial spraying of eco-friendly pesticides, the setting of insecticidal lamps and releasing the insect's natural enemy, chouionia cunea, a tiny bee, would help.

According to the State Forestry Administration, the pest has threatened plants and crops in Beijing, Tianjin, Shaanxi and Hebei since it was first detected in Liaoning Province in 1979.

The Forestry Department of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has set up seven check points to detect and seize plants or lumber infected with anoplophora and other pests, said Ying Sheng, deputy chief of Xinjiang Forestry Department.

Official statistics show that as of 1980, China had only ten types of pests that were not indigenous to China but in 2010, the number grew to 26, with most coming to China with the importation of plants.

"Pests have infected 15 million Mu (one million hectares) of forest in Xinjiang in 2009," Ying said.

The check points include one in Xingxingxia town of Kumul city on the border between Xinjiang and Gansu Province, another in Ruoqiang county in southern Xinjiang, as well as five temporary checkpoints, Ying said.