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June 14, 2012

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Home » Metro » Environment

Trees under threat from jump in pests

AN invasion of pests and the planting of more greenery in the city has led to a surge in tree-damaging organisms in recent years, the city's forestry authorities said yesterday.

Shanghai has found about 1,500 types of organisms harmful to trees, up from only about 500 in the 1980s. Of that number, about 20 are extremely harmful.

"The situation is sort of grim," said Wang Yan of the Shanghai Forestry Bureau.

The pine wood nematode led to the death of 20,000 pine trees on Sheshan Hill in western Shanghai.

All pine trees on the hill were destroyed to avoid the organism's spread.

Trees from other parts of China arrive without being quarantined, Wang said.

About 1,200 cherry blossom trees in Gucun Park, a popular cherry blossom viewing spot in Shanghai, were destroyed last year and in 2011 because of crown gall, a disease of roots and stems. The trees came from Guizhou and Zhejiang provinces.

The infection rate of cherry trees in the city is 15 percent on average, the bureau says.

China bans the import of cherry trees from Japan because of high infection rate.

"However, a lot of cherry trees enter the city through various means every year, posing great pressure on quarantine work," Wang said.

The red palm weevil threatens palm trees. Authorities destroyed 29 canary date palms from Foshan, Guangdong Province, at the Expo site, leading to losses of 7 million yuan (US$1.129 million).

Inspections are also being stepped up currently.


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