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  • Spain: Concerns about spread of chestnut gall wasp

    Aug 5th, 2016

    The National Chestnut Network held in Madrid the annual meeting of its coordination committee, a body that brings together representatives of Spain's most important chestnut producing regions.The topics addressed included the spread of the chestnut gall wasp in Spain and the measures adopted to control it, the decision to create an operational group around chestnut production and the participation in European programs funding initiatives for chestnut producers.The representatives of the different producing areas reported that the chestnut gall wasp is a dangerous pest that spreads much faster than expected, rendering the contingency measures adopted so far, such as pruning or felling of affected trees, ineffective. In fact, the biological control measures which are currently being tested aim to become the only effective control method. During the meeting of the Network, two factors were pinpointed as fundamental to detect the pest's arrival to areas which had been free of it so far: monitoring and surveillance, followed by immediate communication to the bodies responsible and the adoption of the necessary measures in each case.

    The organizations that make up the National Chestnut Network agreed to ask the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment for official detailed information regarding the current status of the pest, the results of the experimental biological control measures and of the research carried out, while continuing to release Torymus sinensis and keeping its authorization as biological control organism.Also, the need to adopt urgent measures that can help in tackling the phytosanitary threats that the sector is facing make it necessary to seek funding sources, so it was agreed to form a supra-regional operational group for the preparation of an innovation project that can help address such issues. The possibility of taking part in other initiatives, such as the LIFE program of the European Union, which aims to launch a program for the preservation of the habitat of chestnut trees, was also mentioned.