MUMBAI: The Institute of Wood Sciences and Technology, Bangalore, has proposed various biological control methods to eradicate the pest infestation seen mainly in mangroves along the coast of Mumbai and Maharashtra after the winter season. One of them is injecting the nuclear polyhedrosis virus (NPV) into surrounding teak forests like Sanjay Gandhi National Park, from where it spreads to mangroves to get rid of the disease.
The pest that practically eats and blackens mangroves comes from the bamboo and other plants found in nearby forests in the early summer months and reappears every February. Mangroves are an integral part of the coastal ecosystem and are protected by law. The report also recommends further studies to find out if some experts and environmentalists believe the pest has also resulted in several positive and positive effects on the ecosystem.
The study found that five defoliant pests among 20 pests are considered to be the main pests. “Environmentally friendly approaches such as biological control, the use of plant-based biopesticides and entomopathogenic fungi are considered the best alternatives to chemical pesticides. The snails can be effectively combated by sprinkling with table salt. Nimbecidin, a commercial neem product and an entomopathogenic fungus, were effective in controlling defoliant pests in the field, ”the study said.
While confirming the result of the report, Neenu Somaraj, the deputy conservator of the forests (mangrove cell), said the study was started to understand the causes and remedies. “The next line of action will be decided on the basis of the findings. From the five recommended biological control methods, a decision is made in the next step before the biological control methods are implemented, which will be adopted due to their financial feasibility, ”she emphasized.
The study found that if food resources in teak plantations in and around mangrove areas were depleted, the pest could migrate into the mangrove plants to sustain its generations and retreat when teak gets new leaves. Hence, this insect likely uses mangrove habitats as a relocation habitat. Further studies are only required for the migration of teak growing areas from the Sanjay Gandhi National Park towards mangrove areas. In-depth studies are also needed to identify the possibility of using nuclear polyhedrosis virus (NPV) in the mangrove ecosystem to control the pest on a larger scale.
“In addition, it is also believed that pest outbreaks can also lead to several beneficial and beneficial effects on the ecosystem. This promotes the diversity of the mangroves, contributes to the nutrient cycle and thereby improves fishery resources and provides food sources for birds, etc. Further studies are needed … “, it says at the end of the report.