Bark beetle wreaks havoc on Central Mountains pine forests
San Jose de las Matas, DominicanRepublic.- More than 700 hectares of pine forest at Plan Sierra’s Celestinaproject have been decimated by a plague of “boring beetles” prompting losses ofnearly RD$19 million.
Of the project’s 1,400 hectares of pine forest, 20 percenthas been affected.
Other Central Mountains communities such as Restauracion,Monción, Jarabacoa and Juncalito, have also reported extensive damage, whilethe Environment Ministry stated concern with its spread toward Sierra de BaorucoNational Park and Constanza.
Quoted by newspaper Hoy, Sierra Plan technician Juan Azconaplaced production losses as high as 6,000 cubic meters of lumber.
He said in addition to the blight, last year’s prolonged droughtcountrywide only worsened situation. “The insect reproduces mostly in warmtemperatures.” The beetle is also known locally as the "bark borer."
To deal with the plague, the Environment Ministry said it designedan insect control protocol which has been made available to lumber producers,with local technicians and one from abroad.