As if the land mafia wasn’t pest enough, actual pests have begun posing as a threat to the mangroves. The mangrove cell of the forest department has allowed for a study to be conducted to find out what kind of pests are eating into the lush greens that surround Thane.
To carry out the study, chief conservator of forests (Mangrove cell) N Vasudevan, has sought the help of Bengaluru based Institute of Wood and Science. The prime is to find out what kind of pests are eating into the greens of the mangroves of Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, and the Panvel side of the Thane creek that covers 2,000 hectares. Vasudevan said that the creek that runs along a distance of 28km, is the largest mangrove in Asia.
The study revealed that the pest that has been affecting the mangroves are called Hyblaea Puera. This species of pest is a teak defoliator. The pest develops into a moth. They attack one or two months after the monsoon season. Though Vasudevan assured that the mangroves did not suffer permanent damage.
He also said “I have noticed a pest attack from time to time in the last four to five years after the monsoon. It is not a permanent damage, and the attack is post monsoon. This year attack is not much.”
Samples have already been collected from Bhandup, Kanjurmarg, Vashi, and Airoli. By avoiding pesticides, Vasudevan said that he wishes for the pests to be treated using biological treatment.
According to a biological control, the attack has mostly affected the leaves on the top part of trees, which the trees get rid of once the moth fly away from it.
Even some residents noticed some defoliation along the creek and were confused about the gradual disappearance of the mangrove.