Leaf miner at­tack needs at­ten­tion

Augusta Margaret River Times - - News - John Evans, Broad­wa­ter

Far worse than any lo­cal de­cline in pep­per­mints is the mas­sive eco­log­i­cal dis­as­ter with the leaf miner at­tack on flooded gums along our river, creeks and wet­land ar­eas.

This na­tive in­sect species is de­stroy­ing or hav­ing a sig­nif­i­cant neg­a­tive im­pact on trees from Mar­garet River to Ko­jonup and Bod­ding­ton to Har­vey.

Year af­ter year, ma­ture and im­ma­ture trees are be­ing af­fected, each time caus­ing fur­ther weak­ness, ul­ti­mately re­sult­ing in death of these trees.

If they dis­ap­pear, con­sid­er­able soil ero­sion and loss of habi­tat will re­sult. And yet, no re­search ap­pears to be un­der­taken.

It is a mas­sive prob­lem, which de­mands ur­gent at­ten­tion and fund­ing.

Lo­cal small-scale tri­als us­ing se­lec­tive baited pheromone at­trac­tants and di­rect in­jec­tion with sys­temic in­sec­ti­cides could be con­ducted, but ul­ti­mately bi­o­log­i­cal con­trols are the only solution given the size of area.

Gov­ern­ment agen­cies need to make this a pri­or­ity be­fore mas­sive eco­log­i­cal col­lapse.

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