A Nematode Pest from Pinewood threatens Japanese Heritage Island of Yakushima

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Colorized electron micrograph of soybean cyst nematode (Heterodera sp.) and egg, Wikimedia

Tokyo, Jan 6, 2017:  A nematode pest from pinewood is threatening to infest a forest on the Japanese island of Yakushima, a world heritage site and home to an endangered pine species.

The pest has affected an area four times larger than normal, said local authorities who will have to take measures to protect the affected site included in the Unesco list since 1993, reported the Japanese daily Asahi.

The plant pest began spreading in summer and is visible in a wooded area bordering Mount Mocchomudake, a habitat of intense greenery, which is now acquiring a shade of dead trees, the authorities said on Friday.

Nematodes, microscopic worms, are transported by wood-eating beetles, through which the pests can spread like an infectious disease, said the Yakushima government.

It feared that the parasite will damage 1,000 specimens of the Pinus amamiana, Efe news reported.

Pinus amamiana, similar to the Chinese Armand pine species, grows wild only in the islands of Yakushima and Tanegashima.

Island authorities plan to destroy some 200 cubic metres of dead pine wood to eradicate the pest and fell down trees in forests near the western area of the island where the forest is located. (IANS)