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Research Seminar held on ‘Current Challenges in Management of Forest Pests & Diseases’

Dehradun, 27 Jun: The Forest Protection Division, Forest Research Institute, here, organised day long Research Seminar on ‘Current Challenges in the Management of Forest Insect Pests and Diseases”, today, for scientists, researchers, academicians from colleges, Universities and other Government and non Government organisations from the mandated states of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Stakeholders from Haryana, Punjab and Uttarakhand Forest Departments and farmers from Dehradun also participated in the seminar. The aims and objectives of the seminar were to discuss various issues on the management of forest insect pests and diseases and to share the research carried out by Forest Research Institute with the stakeholders.
The Research seminar was inaugurated by Chief Guest Arun Singh Rawat, Director, Forest Research Institute. In his inaugural address, he introduced the audience to the history and achievements of Forest Protection Division, which go back to as early as 1779, when JG Koeing published the life history of an Indian Termite, Odontotermes redemani. Forest Entomology and Forest Pathology Divisions, which are now part of Protection Division, are pioneers in their respective fields, and have made commendable contributions to study of forest pathological and entomological problems of the country for more than 100 years. He highlighted the pest management problems of acacia, sal and shisham mortality, sal heart wood borer, poplar, teak and shisham defoliators, etc., being faced by the stake holders. He also attracted attention to climate change, which is aggravating the incidence of pests, both, insect and fungal, in the already stressed forests. He also expressed his concern at the indiscriminate application of pesticides which has resulted in resistance and resurgence of insect pests and diseases, environmental pollution and problems related to human health.
The Director expressed the hope that the daylong deliberations in the presence of stake holders and eminent scientists would bring out many forest protections related issues which would help the scientists of the division in formulating new projects for carrying out research and finding solution to these newer problems.
Dr Mohd. Yousuf, Head, Forest Protection Division, in his welcome address said the impact of pesticides applied against insect pests was also devastating on non-target and beneficial insect fauna like parasitoids, predators and pollinators, etc. He emphasised that biological control of insect pests was effective, environmentally safe and economically viable pest management. The Forest Research Institute had developed biological control of teak and poplar defoliators and Eucalyptus gall wasps which had successfully managed these pests. Recently, infestation of Eucalyptus gall wasp had been controlled by applying biological control by releasing Megastigmus sp. in Punjab.
Dr NSK Harsh emphasised the need for disease and insect pest survey for early identification of problems before they became epidemics. Dr Amit Pandey, Forest Pathologist, briefed about the present scenario concerning sal & shisham mortality, agroforestry diseases & bio-fungicides. Dr Jagdish Chander, PCCF, Haryana, flagged many field problems pertaining to entomology & pathology. Senior scientists also discussed the recent developments in insect-pest of oak, resistance against poplar defoliator, bio-control and molecular pathology. Dr Vijay Vir from DRDO presented his work on pheromones.
Eminent forest protection scientists from various Universities and Research Organisations in and around Dehradun, Dr AN Shukla, former Head, Forest Pathology Division; Prof MC Nautiyal, former Dean, Horticulture, GB Pant University of Agriculture & Technology, Pant Nagar;  Dr Mukhtar Ahmad, former Head, Forest Entomology Division, FRI; RS Bhandari, former Head, Forest Entomology Division, FRI; Dr NSK Harsh, former Head, Forest Pathology Division, FRI; Dr Vijayveer, former Director, Defence Research Laboratory, DRDO, Tezpur (Assam); Dr VP Uniyal, WII; Dr Pankaj Tewari, OIC Regional Sericulture Research  Station, Sahaspur, Dehradun; Dr Gaurav Sharma OIC and Dr Veeneta Sharma, Northern Regional Center, Zoological Survey of India, Dehradun; Dr Pankaj Tiwari, Central Silk Board, Sahaspur, were among those present.
Jagdish Chander, PCCF from Haryana and Mr Charchil, CCF, Director, State Forest Research Institute, Punjab also attended the seminar.
At the end of the inaugural session, Dr Amit Pandey in charge Forest Pathology Discipline, proposed the vote of thanks.