Monday, March 21, 2016

Need of a Moratorium to ban harvesting of young leaves and buds (ubod) of coconut

Coconut trees stripped of their young leaves are easy target of the coconut beetle and scale insect.
Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Ms Melly C Tenorio

738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 evening class Mon to Fri

Today there's a serious pest of coconut - Scale Insects (Aspidiotus destructor). Several provinces particularly in Region 4 have been placed under emergency. Harvesting young leaves of coconut for handicraft, culinary, palaspas, and the like, further predisposes infested coconut trees to succumb. The young leaves are the ultimate defence when the older leaves are heavily infested with the scale insect.

Rhinocerus beetle (Oryctes rhinocerus) is a scourge of coconut,drastically reducing production, if not killing the tree at any stage. Right, a healthy tree can produce up to 50 nuts every two month.   
Mode of attack by both the larva (grub) and the adult characterized by boring into the very heart of the crown destroying the unopened bud leaves.  Right, damage bud after emergence. Heavy infestation results in the decapitation of the standing tree.  

Palm Sunday is a nemesis to the coconut trees, and to the coconut industry, the mainstay of the Philippine economy in coconut-based areas. Thousands of trees are sacrificed for their young leaves made into paslaspas during Palm Sunday (Holy Week).  Young trees are killed for the bud leaves as well as for the the core or ubod which is made into fresh lumpia, a popular delicacy.

Coconut tree stripped of their young leaves for palaspas are easy target of the coconut beetle. The inflicted wound attracts the fecund female rhinoceros beetle to lay eggs, and the wound serves as entry for the newly hatch grubs which ultimately will bore and destroy the tree. Adult beetles are likewise lured to attack wounded trees.  Analogous to this is that, after a typhoon, infestation rises sharply.  Weakened condition of wounded trees exacerbate the damage which leads to premature death.  Coconut trees are known to live productively for fifty years,and even longer.  

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