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Thu, P. Insect Pest and Disease Threats to Forest Plantations. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 13 June 2024).
Thu P. Insect Pest and Disease Threats to Forest Plantations. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed June 13, 2024.
Thu, Pham. "Insect Pest and Disease Threats to Forest Plantations" Encyclopedia, (accessed June 13, 2024).
Thu, P. (2021, November 23). Insect Pest and Disease Threats to Forest Plantations. In Encyclopedia.
Thu, Pham. "Insect Pest and Disease Threats to Forest Plantations." Encyclopedia. Web. 23 November, 2021.
Insect Pest and Disease Threats to Forest Plantations

The planted forest area in Vietnam increased from 3.0 to 4.4 million hectares in the period 2010–2020, but the loss of productivity from pests and diseases continues to be a problem. During this period, frequent and systematic plantation forest health surveys were conducted on 12 native and 4 exotic genera of trees as well as bamboo across eight forest geographic regions of Vietnam. Damage caused by insects and pathogens was quantified in the field and laboratory in Hanoi. 

damage incidence damage index defoliation forest health monitoring

1. Introduction

Vietnam has made great strides in regreening the country in recent decades [1][2]. Due to national policies and targets for afforestation and the rehabilitation of natural forests, the forest area expanded from 9.40 million ha in 1990 to 14.67 million ha in 2020 [3]. Vietnam’s 2006–2020 Forest Development Strategy expressed the goal of increasing the total forest cover from 37% in 2006 [4] to 42% by 2020 [3]. Forest development efforts of the past 10 years have greatly contributed to Vietnam’s sustainability strategy [5]. In particular, the plantation forestry sector has made a significant contribution to the growth in forest cover and now comprises 26.4% (ca. 4.4 million ha) of the total forest area in Vietnam [3]. About half of the forest plantations are managed by small stakeholders and the remainder by private companies [3][6]. Therefore, the plantation forest sector is vitally important to the livelihood of millions of rural households [7][8]. Exotic species, mainly acacias and eucalypts, have been widely planted in Vietnam [6]. It has been estimated that fast-growing Acacia hybrids can provide 33–56% of the total household income [9]. Furthermore, the export of wood and forest products earned US$9.4 billion in 2018 [6] and increased to US$12.3 billion in 2020 [10]. Even though the plantation area has continued to increase over time, it is insufficient to meet the demand of the local wood processing industry [11]. Reducing losses from damage caused by insect pests and pathogens can help to secure the future wood supply that Vietnam needs for its domestic and international markets.
Over time, the incidence of pest and disease problems in Acacia and Eucalyptus stands has increased globally [12][13][14][15], including in Vietnam. Old et al. described 13 fungal pathogens associated with Eucalyptus plantations in Vietnam [16][17]. The most common Eucalyptus diseases were caused by Cryptosporiopsis eucalypti, Cylindrocladium reteaudii, and Ralstonia solanacearum. Illustrations of the most common biotic problems (21 pests, 23 pathogens) in Acacia, Eucalyptus, and Pinus plantations were provided in a field guide for advisors and growers [18]. With the exception of native Pinus, most of the studies on forest health in Vietnam have focused on exotic species, mainly Acacia and Eucalyptus [19][20]. Currently, there are five major pest species (Ericeia sp., Helopeltis sp., Phalera grotei, Pteroma plagiophleps, and Xylosandrus crassiusculus) and four major pathogens (Ceratocystis sp., Corticium salmonicolor, Phytophthora cinnamomi, and Pythium vexans) threatening the productivity of Acacia plantations in Vietnam. Furthermore, six major pest species (Aristobia testudo, A. approximator, Biston suppressaria, Leptocybe invasa, Sarothrocera lowi, and Trabala vishnou) and five major pathogens (Cylindrocladium sp., Cryptosporiopsis eucalypti, Ralstonia solanacearum, Teratosphaeria destructans, and T. zuluensis) have been damaging Eucalyptus plantations. As the research effort on forest health in Vietnam has increased over the past two decades, many reports focusing on individual pests or pathogens of interest have been published [18][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27].

2. Field Surveys—General Procedures

Forest health surveys were undertaken annually from 2011 to 2020, in the eight forest geographic regions of Vietnam (Figure 1), with support from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. Field observations were carried out on forests planted with 16 tree species (Table 1). We relied on information gathered by local foresters as well as our own observations to select the surveyed plantations in each studied forest region. Three fixed plots (40 × 25 m) were randomly set up in plantations comprising the tree species present in each region and they were assessed over ten years. Selected plots were at least 20 m from plantation edges, roads, or forest gaps. About 25% of trees (at least 30 trees) in each plot were randomly selected and assessed for damage from insect pests and/or pathogens. Surveys usually involved three repeat visits a year undertaken in spring (February–April), summer (May–July), and autumn (August–October). Where tree injury was observed (e.g., defoliation, leaf senescence, shoot dieback, tree death), we quantified the damage.
Figure 1. Map of Vietnam showing the eight forest geographic regions.
Table 1. Details of forest plantation species that were surveyed for pests and pathogens.
Host Area in 2020 (ha) Planting Region * Native/Exotic Commercial Use
Acacia spp. and hybrids 2,000,000 NE, NW, NP, NC, SC, HC, SE, SW Exotic Paper, plywood, timber for construction and furniture
Ailanthus triphysa 500 NE, NC, SC, SE Native Plywood
Chukrasia tabularis 35,000 NE, NW, NP, NC, SC, HC Native Timber for furniture
Cinnamomum cassia 210,000 NE, NW, NC, SC Native Bark for export and seasoning, oil for medicine
Dalbergia tonkinensis 2000 NE, NW, NP, NC, SC, HC, SE Native Timber for furniture and handcrafts
Dendrocalamus barbatus 120,000 NE, NW, NP, NC Native Culm for construction, activated carbon, handcrafts and paper, young shoots for food
Dendrocalamus latiflorus 15,000 NE, NW, NP, NC, SE Exotic Young shoots for food, culm for paper
Dipterocarpus alatus 20,000 NC, SC, HC, SE Native Timber for furniture, construction
Eucalyptus spp. and hybrids 400,000 NE, NW, NP, NC, SC, HC, SE, SW Exotic Paper, plywood, timber for construction
Fernandoa brilletii 6000 NE, NW, NC Native Timber for furniture
Hopea odorata 20,000 NC, SC, HC, SE Native Timber for furniture and boat
Illicium verum 42,000 NE, NW Native Fruit for export and seasoning, oil for medicine
Melaleuca cajuputi 36,000 NE, NP, NC, SC, SW Native Paper, activated carbon, poles for construction
Melaleuca leucadendra 32,000 SE, SW Exotic Paper, activated carbon, poles for construction
Nauclea orientalis 500 SE, SW Native Plywood
Neolamarckia cadamba 1000 NE, NC, SE, SW Native Plywood

* Forest zones (see Figure 1): NE, North East; NW, North West; NP, North Plain; NC, North Central; SC, South Central; HC, Highland Central; SE, South East; SW, South West.

3. Field Surveys—Insects

Insect survey methods included eye tracking, sweep netting, suction sampling, and lure traps. Adult folivores were captured with collecting nets on aluminum poles, and placed in killing jars. Plastic boxes (VietNhat Plastic Joint Stock Company, Hanoi, Vietnam) with nylon mesh covers were employed to transport the living larvae, pupae, and eggs to the laboratory. Fresh leaves were included for the larvae to feed.
For wood borers, samples were mostly obtained by the felling of affected trees, then chopping logs to obtain collections. When adults were not present, logs 1.0–1.5 m in length were transported to the laboratory in Hanoi. Some logs were dissected to capture the adults and/or larvae. The cuts of other logs were sealed with Parafilm® (Bemis Company Inc., Neenah, WI, USA) and were taken to the laboratory for rearing adults for identification.
In addition, more intensive sampling was undertaken through trapping in the field for adult ambrosia beetles. Black funnel Lindgren traps (BioQuip Products, Inc., Compton, CA, USA) and self-made plastic-bottle traps baited with 70% ethanol and para-menthenol (1S, 4R)-p-menth-2-en-1-ol) (Synergy Semiochemicals Corp. (Burnaby, BC, Canada) were used to attract adults. Propylene glycol (Merck, Darmstadt, Germany) and water (50:50) solution was used in the collection cups. Each trap was suspended at least 10 m apart in a plantation and 1.5 m above the ground to avoid damage by wild animals. The baits were replaced once a week. Baiting was undertaken from April to June. Trap collections were stored in 70% ethanol in Eppendorf® (Eppendorf Manufacturing Corp., Hamburg, Germany) tubes and then sorted in the laboratory.

4. Change over Time

Forest health surveys undertaken from 2011 to 2020 on the plantations of different tree species in Table 1 revealed 14 new or emerging insect pest species and major disease threats from two plant pathogens (Table 2). The total number of new or emerging insect pest species and pathogens increased from 2 in 2011 to 17 in 2020 (Figure 2). Hence, on average, 1–2 new pests per year were recorded damaging forest plantations in Vietnam. The temporal and geographical occurrence of the observed pests and pathogens is detailed in Table 3. Of particular note is the apparently rapid spread of Aulacapsis tubercularis in Cinnamomum cassia, Euwallacea fornicatus in Acacia spp. and C. cassia, Tapinolachrus lacordairea in Chukrasia tabularis, and Xyleborus perforans in Acacia and Eucalyptus. The two main types of damage from insect pest species are from foliar feeding by folivores (5 species of Lepidoptera), and bark and/or wood feeding (6 species of Coleoptera). The fungal pathogen Ceratocystis manginecans has extended its host range from exotic Acacia and Eucalyptus to the native Dalbergia tonkinensis and C. tabularis.
Figure 2. Change in the number of pest and pathogen species recorded each year.
Table 2. Pests and pathogens recorded in forest health surveys in Vietnam causing significant damage to host trees.
Group Species Tree Species Damaged Part
Coleoptera Batocera lineolata Eucalyptus hybrids Boles
Euwallacea fornicatus Acacia auriculiformis
Acacia mangium
Acacia hybrids
Cinnamomum cassia
Lycaria westermanni Fernandoa brilletii Leaves
Tapinolachnus lacordairei Chukrasia tabularis Boles
Xyleborus perforans Acacia hybrids
Eucalyptus urophylla
Xystrocera festiva Acacia mangium Boles
Hemiptera Aulacaspis tubercularis Cinnamomum cassia Leaves
Helopeltis theivora Acacia auriculiformis
Acacia mangium
Acacia hybrids
Cinnamomum cassia
Melaleuca cajuputi
Melaleuca leucadendra
Young leaves, shoots
Lepidoptera Antheraea frithi Dipterocarpus alatus
Hopea odorata
  Arthroschista hilaralis Neolamarckia cadamba
Nauclea orientalis
  Atteva fabriciella Ailanthus triphysa Young leaves, shoots
  Krananda semihyalina Cinnamomum cassia Leaves
  Moduza procris Neolamarckia cadamba
Nauclea orientalis
Orthoptera Hieroglyphus tonkinensis Dendrocalamus barbatus
Dendrocalamus latiflorus
Young leaves
Fungi Ceratocystis manginecans Acacia auriculiformis
Acacia mangium
Acacia hybrids
Chukrasia tabularis
Dalbergia tonkinensis
Eucalyptus camaldulensis
Eucalyptus urophylla
Fusarium solani Dendrocalamus latiflorus Shoots, roots
Oomycete Phytophthora acaciivora Acacia mangium
Acacia hybrids
Roots and dieback of seedlings
Table 3. Temporal and geographical occurrence of pest and pathogen species in forest health surveys in Vietnam from 2011 to 2020.
Organism 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Antheraea frithi             SE SE, SW SE, SW SE, SW
Arthroschista hilaralis         SW SW SW SW SW SW
Atteva fabriciella           NE NE NE NE NE
Aulacaspis tubercularis         SW SW, SC SW, SC, NE, NP SW, SC, NE, NP SW, SC, NE, NP SW, SC, NE, NP
Batocera lineolata                 NW NE, NW
Euwallacea fornicatus     NE, SC, HC NE, SC, HC NE, SC, HC NE, NW, NC, SC, SE, HC NE, NW, NC, SC, SE, HC NE, NW, NC, SC, SE, HC NE, NW, NC, SC, SE, SW, HC NE, NW, NC, SC, SE, SW, HC
Helopeltis theivora                   NC, NW, NE, HC, SE, SW
Hieroglyphus tonkinensis NW, NE, NC NW, NE, NC NW, NE, NC NW, NE, NC NW, NE, NC NW, NE, NC NW, NE, NC NW, NE, NC NW, NE, NC NW, NE, NC
Krananda semihyalina                   NE, NP
Lycaria westermanni               NC NC, NE, NW NC, NE, NW
Moduza procris         SW SW SW SW SW SW
Tapinolachnus lacordairei                 NW NE, NW, NC
Xyleborus perforans                 NE NE, SE, SW
Xystrocera festiva     HC HC HC HC, SC HC, SC HC, SC HC, SC HC, SC
Ceratocystis manginecans NE, NW, NC NE, NW, NC NE, NW, NC NE, NW, NC, SE NE, NW, NP, NC, SE, SW NE, NW, NP, NC, SC, SE, SW NE, NW, NP, NC, SC, HC, SE, SW NE, NW, NP, NC, SC, HC, SE, SW NE, NW, NP, NC, SC, HC, SE, SW NE, NW, NP, NC, SC, HC, SE, SW
Fusarium solani                 NE NE
Phytophthora acaciivora     NE NE NE NE NE NE NE NE

Note: NE. North East; NW. North West; NP. North Plain; NC. North Central; SC. South Central; HC. Highland Central; SE. South East; SW. South West.


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Subjects: Forestry
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