Experts look into cause of death among trees

BAGUIO CITY – Alarmed over the death of trees in Baguio City, scientists from the Benguet State University and Environment Research Development Bureau convened a forum recently at the Watershed and Water Resources Research Center-Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (WWRRC-DENR) to look into the cause of morbidity among trees.

Based on the assessment of WWRRC-DENR, aside from human activities, tree pests like ips and dendroctunos have been killing Benguet pine trees in parks and along streets in the city.

Ips and Dendroctunos are pine beetles that have the characteristics of burrowing portions of treetrunk and branches when laying eggs.

The assessment likewise revealed that symptoms of beetle infestation are now reaching the pine forests of Benguet.

According to Ms. Imelda Ngaloy, science research specialist of ERDB, the pine beetles have a distinctive feature of creating tunnels particularly from trunks to barks which disrupt the supply of fluid or water from the roots going to different parts of the tree. The disruption makes the trunk dry.

“Dead trunks can’t supply the stem with water, minerals, stored food or hormones – so the whole tree dies,” Ngaloy said.

She also reported that ips and dendroctunos prefer to attack trees that have damaged portion, weakened, or dying.

An overstressed tree has less resin or sap as a means of defense to block beetles from entering the bark or trunk.

Meanwhile, in Camp John Hay, a prevalence of beetle infestation has been reported.

Beetles attack had been widespread and had been going on for more than five years.

Professor Marissa Parao of BSU revealed that since 2008, the death of about 500 pine trees or 60 trees every year has been attributed to beetle infestation and disease infection.

Parao said that the research personnel of BSU are now looking into some factors that have triggered the spread of pine beetles into alarming level./Danny Killip


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