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|Thursday, June 15, 2000, updated at 10:24(GMT+8)|
"Pine Cancer" Threatening to Forest Reserve in China's World-Heritage Site"Pine cancer," a dangerous pine disease caused by eelworms, is now posing a threat to trees in the well-known tourist attraction of Zhangjiajie State Forest Park in central China.
The devastating forest disease was spotted earlier this year in Enshi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture in the western part of Hunan Province, which is only 108 km away from the Wulingyuan Mountains, which was incorporated into the UNESCO's world heritage list in 1992 for its abundant virgin forest reserve.
Zhangjiajie is situated in the center of the Wulingyuan Mountains. Pine growing on top of stone cliffs has been regarded as one of the most famous scenery there.
Zhang Jian, director of the Provincial Forestry Bureau, said that the local pine species are mutations of masson pine, which tops the list of the pine cancer's targets.
He warned that if the forest is infected with the pine eelworm disease, it will not only do harm to the region's ecological environment but also to the booming tourism.
It only takes two to three months for trees contracted with pipe eelworms to wither to death, Zhang said.
Hunan Province has the second largest pine tree coverage in China. The province has stayed on alert of the disease.
Checkpoints were set up around the infectious area to try to block the overspread.
The pine disease was first spotted in China in 1982. Some 73, 000 ha of pine forest in Guangdong and Zhejiang provinces has been infected since then.
So far, no effective prevention method has been invented to deal with the forest disease, which has left most severe plagues in Japan, the United States and Canada.
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