JHMC moves to save trees from Ips

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014


AS HUMANS sometimes manifest negative effects of stress, so do trees.

Environment manager of the John Hay Management Corporation (JHMC) Engr. Alberta Banatao in a press conference Wednesday said an already pest-infected tree may suffer more if stressed. And by "stressed" the engineer meant forest fires and disturbing its roots among others.

This after Banatao revealed foresters of JHMC and Benguet State University are currently conducting a study to determine the health of the pine forest of Camp John Hay.

"Last year we discovered 6 species of bark beetles attacking pine trees within the reservation with Ips calligraphus causing the most infestation," Banatao said.

"The 6 bark beetles are: Ips grandicollis, Ips calligraphus, Dendroctonus terebrans, Dendroctonus frontalis and unknown species," a JHMC statement revealed.

The JHMC-BSU team recently identified infected pine trees, which could still be treated and were cured by chemicals. Infected trees were also wrapped with plastic cover to prevent further infestation.

"Subject to the issuance of proper permits by [Department of Environment and Natural Resources], sanitation cutting shall also be undertaken for trees which are beyond resuscitation. From these dead trees, additional specimen of insect pests and other plant pathogens shall be collected and subjected to pathogenicity testing in the laboratory that would confirm the reason of their deaths," JHMC said.

But Banatao emphasized cutting is always the last resort to an infestation.

"The importance of this study is to finally institute measures to protect our forest reservation," Banatao said.

The John Hay reservation comprises 52 percent of the remaining forest cover of Baguio City. As per the JHMC president’s report presented yesterday JHMC has already conducted a tree inventory in 151.08 hectares of the reservation.

“This pioneering research is in line with the mandate of JHMC to protect and preserve the John Hay forest watershed and to encourage sustainable development,” JHMC added.

This was seconded by JHMC president and chief executive officer Jamie Eloise Agbayani saying JHMC is focused on the administration’s thrusts especially on environmental management.

In November 2012 JHMC resorted to cut 60 dead pine trees within the reservation because of Ips infestation.

JHMC president and chief executive officer Jamie Eloise Agbayani then stressed the cutting was done in coordination with the DENR and a multipartite monitoring team.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 15, 2014.

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