Nothofagus (southern beech) defoliators
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Formerly known as the Forest Research Institute, Scion has been a leader in research relating to forest health for over 50 years. The Rotorua-based Crown Research Institute continues to provide science that will protect all forests from damage caused by insect pests, pathogens and weeds. The information presented below arises from these research activities.
From Forest Health News 164, July 2006.
Nod Kay was granted a Research Fellowship from the OECD Co-operative Research Programme to visit Alice Holt Lodge, UK Forestry Commission, Farnham, from 15 May to 2 July to carry out leaf analysis of Nothofagus . The objective of the research was to attempt to explain the observed differences in the growth rate of defoliators feeding on 15 different southern beech species.
Foliage of the Nothofagus species was collected from the same trees and arboreta that supplied foliage for the gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar ) and fall webworm (Hyphantria cunea ) risk assessment bioassays undertaken in France in 2000–2004 (see FHNews 131). The specific aim of the study was to relate leaf characteristics of the individual trees and/or host species, to the defoliator growth rates obtained from those bioassays. Although there are many potential determinants of leaf palatability, the basic nutritional values of leaf nitrogen and water also provide a dietary baseline for defoliator growth. The foliage collected was weighed, dried, and ground in the UK and brought back to the Veritec lab at Scion for nitrogen analysis. Preliminary results indicate that beech species with low leaf nitrogen do not support rapid defoliator growth. Interestingly, in a confirmation of the previous risk analyses, a foliage beating survey of 12 Nothofagus species with one aboretum recovered defoliators (including a tussock moth, Orgyia antiqua) only from the most palatable, South American, beech species.
(Nod Kay, Ensis)
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