Demonstration Sites on Forest Health and Sanity Management

The territorial area of Honduras is three times larger than that of Taiwan (approximately 112,000 square kilometers), which means that the forest area is approximately 60%, and the population is only about one third of that at Taiwan (approximately 9 million people). Therefore, although there is a large forest area, there are not enough human resources to carry out forest management, which is certainly more extensive than in Taiwan. Except for a small number of private companies that own sites in the honduran forest and that are willing to invest in forest management practices, such as reforestation and thinning, the rest of the forest area is kept in free creation. Therefore, the pine forest damaged by the pest of the weevil, is renewed naturally, without thinning and the density of the forests is extremely high, causing the pine trees to become more susceptible to invasion by insects and forest fires.

Local forestry companies have achieved adequate thinning in some areas and have found that thinned pine forests are less likely to be attacked by pests. Based on this background, we want to know how the type of forest management can effectively impact on pest control, through the establishment of demonstration plots under different management plans, where forest management will be compared more effectively.

So that, we have developed the following guidelines and established three demonstration sites for health management and forest health in Honduras.

Parameters for Establishment of Demonstration Sites
Without Plague With Plague
Without Handling Demonstration site 3 (Olancho)
With Handling Demonstration site 2 (Yodeco) Demonstration site 1(UNACIFOR)

According to the above rules, if there is any difference in the impact of pests on pine forests with or without forest management.

The demonstration site will also install a micro weather station and a baited trap with bark beetle attractant (which is called semiochemicals, more specifically pheromone and kairomone), while continuously monitoring high-resolution satellite images for long-term data will be collected.

To establish each demonstration site, we first conducted field research, communicated with the Department of Health and Forest Health, and with their help we identified some of the main forest companies, to ask if they would be willing to cooperate in the framework of this project. Then we visited the site to conduct surveys and interviews, and find out if the forest was suitable as a demonstration site.

Currently there are three possible locations for the demonstration sites: National University of Forestry Sciences of Honduras (UNACIFOR) in Comayagua, YODECO Commercial Sawmill in Francisco Morazán, and ICF Regional of Gualaco, in Olancho, Honduras. In the following lines, we provide a brief description of each site.

Demonstration Site 1: National University of Forestry Sciences of Honduras (UNACIFOR).

The objective of the demonstration site 1 is an area with pests and forest management. UNACIFOR is located in the Siguatepeque area, Comayagua department, about 90 km from the capital and 2 hours by car. This university has several experimental forests that are used to teach students during their career in Forestry Sciences, and it is an ideal place to establish demonstration sites.

After meeting with the authorities of UNACIFOR, the director and professor of the Faculty of Forestry Sciences, Eng. M.Sc. Oscar Leverón, took us to the experimental forest ten minutes from the university; where there are more than 5 baited traps and a continuous monitoring of the pest is carried out.

Demonstration Site 2: YODECO Commercial Sawmill

YODECO, as a private forestry company with a large number of artificial pine forests (also known as plantations), the age of the forests is over 25 years and it is a company with considerable management experience. The demonstration site provided by YODECO is about 100 kilometers from the capital and it takes about 2.5 hours by car to get there.

The objective of demonstration site 2 is an area without pests and with forest management. After talking extensively with the head of YODECO, we came to the conclusion that the company's forest lands have many forests that have been managed with thinning and it remains healthy, which have not suffered from infestation of the bark beetle most recent attack.

The plantations provided by YODECO are assisted by nearby communities, and the community is composed mostly by forest workers. YODECO maintains a good relationship with the community and also allows residents of the community to use the scarified wood for their own use.

Demonstration Site 3: Regional ICF of Gualaco, in Olancho

The objective of demonstration site 3 is to identify an area with pests and without forest management to compare the effectiveness of forest management. The area of Gualaco in the province of Olancho has historically been the point of origin of the outbreak of the pest of bark beetle, and it was there where the last time started with even more devastating consequences in 2014, as can be seen in the satellite images.

Olancho is the largest department in Honduras, approximately the size of Taiwan. It has a high rate of forest coverage and the large population is engaged in logging. The dryness in the climate in relation to other areas can be one of the main causes of pest outbreaks, such those of bark beetle, which has been worsened with the progressive climate change.

Some forests in the Gualaco area are under the jurisdiction of the ICF regional office. The technical staff and the authorities are very concerned about the devastating problems caused by the appearance of pests. Therefore, they are willing to cooperate with our plans to establish weather stations for long-term data collection and effective early detection of pests. ICF also maintains a good relationship with local residents. Due to the need to establish a micro weather station, the best location is to build near the local community called "Las Bellotas". The residents of this community can help in the maintenance and collection of information, as well as in transmitting the latest news about possible outbreaks of pests, to provoke an early response.

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