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Japan's Heritage Island Forest, On The Verge Of Getting Wiped Out By Nematodes

By Mauricia / 2017.01.07
Yakushima is a sub-tropical island covered in ancient rainforests and surrounded by coral reefs.This island has become a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site in 1993.

Japan's Heritage Island Forest is in the risk of getting wiped out as pinewood nematode pests wreak havoc in the tranquil forest boring into the tree trunks which resulted in wilting.

According to authorities, the pests already began damaging a massive area that is four times greater than normal. Means have been taken to conserve the affected site which UNESCO included in the list of World Heritage Sites since 1993.

The nematodes as mentioned by the Latin American Herald Tribune started multiplying in summer and are evident in a wooded area that borders Mount Mocchomudake. It used to be an environment of deep greenery but now the surroundings are shades of dead and rotten trees, said the authorities.

The Yakushima government is afraid that the parasite could destruct 1,000 Pinus amamiana specimens.  These trees are much the same to the Chinese Armand pine species. The pine trees grow uncultivated in the islands of Tanegashima and Yakushima.

Yakushima is situated in the heart of Yaku Island where palaearctic and oriental biotic regions meet. The place reveals of lush flora consisting of at least 9,000 species and subspecies which includes ancient specimen, the sugi or Japanese cedar.

The UNESCO World Heritage Centre sees Yakushima's island ecosystem is quite different in the Northern Hemisphere's temperate location with progressive vertical plant allocation. This extends from coastal vegetation up to a mountainous moderate rainforest to a high chain and cold-moderate bamboo grassland at the middle peaks.

 Although a small island, Yakushima is different from the other ecosystems of the world because of its uniqueness which shelters abounding rheophytes and epiphytes that became accustomed to the high rainfall. The forest houses some 1,900 flora species and subspecies along with 16 mammal species and 150 bird species.

However, authorities consider demolishing about 200 cubic meters or 7,063 square feet of dead pine wood to eliminate the pinewood nematodes aside from cutting down trees in forests close to the western area of the island where the forest is situated.

The pinewood nematode, Bursaphelenchus xylophilous originated in North America but has spread to Europe and East Asia that becomes a key global plague.

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