Efforts in combating eucalyptus withering pests bring slow results

On 30 August 2019 at 10:30

From 2013, Rwanda experienced a disease in eucalyptus trees identified as ‘Thaumastocoris Peregrinus’ ravaging forests feeding on eucalyptus leaves and sucking trees’ fluids, hence impeding their proper growth and withering.

This left a huge task to the Government and relevant institutions concerned with forest management to seek a solution to combat the disease.

The pests are believed to have originated from countries with a big presence of eucalyptus trees like Australia among others.

Faustin Bizumuremyi from Gisagara district has told IGIHE that such pests still destroy their eucalyptus trees and continue to wither gradually.

Speaking to IGIHE, Prime Ngabonziza, the Director-General of Rwanda Water and Forestry Authority (RWFA) said research outcomes attributed the presence of such pests to rough growth.

“In collaboration with the research center within the Rwanda Agriculture Board, we took a sample of these pests and transferred them to laboratories abroad. They established the origin of these pests and told us that they emerge depending on conditions in which a forest is maintained,” he said.

The research attributed the presence of these pests to the shortage of water on the land where trees are planted, and conservation conditions. The research also revealed that combating such pests applying pesticides would pose a threat to other elements in the environment ecosystem like water and crops among others.

“They told us that spraying chemical substances in these forests would result in aggravated consequences given that these pests emerge depending on forests conservation conditions. They advised us on good maintenance of forests, digging spillways to retain water to feed trees,” said Ngabonziza.

“We adhered to the instructions and implemented these practices in collaboration with districts and farmers. It bore fruits in some regions that the situation is far different unlike the case in 2014. Probably, the pests are seen in poorly maintained individual farmer’s forests,” he added.

Pests destroying eucalyptus were first experienced in countries like Australia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Eritrea, and Uganda.

Eucalyptus susceptible be affected by such pests are spread to 55% of the total land covered by forests in Rwanda.

Rwanda targets to spread forests to 30% of the country’s land by 2020 to make a fresh atmosphere with no negative impact on the country’s growth and residents.