Working together to protect pine treesKoreans have special feelings for pine trees. In the 2014 Gallup Korea survey on 1,700 men and women, 46 percent of the respondents said that their favorite tree was the pine tree. In another survey by the Korea Forest Service, 67.7 percent said that the pine tree was the favorite, 12 times more than Gingko tree, which came in second.
This winter, staff at the Korea Forest Service and forest workers around the country are working hard to protect the pine trees from pine wilt disease. Pine wilt penetrates pine trees and multiplies into more than 200,000 in only 20 days. In the course of proliferation, the water channel is destroyed, and the pine trees that contracted pine wilt dry up and die.
Pine wilt disease first broke out in Korea in 1988. Korea had been clear of the disease at the time, but the outbreak first started on Geumjeong Mountain in Busan. In Japan, pine wilt disease began to spread in 1905, and the authorities had given up pest control aside from major forest reserves. It was also spreading in China and Taiwan.
Unfortunately, pine wilt disease spread in Korea as well. Currently, the Korea Forest Service invested all available manpower and resources to keep pine wilt disease under control, maintaining the number of infected trees around 100,000.
From October to the end of March, or April in Jeju, is designated as the pine wilt disease prevention period, and the authorities focus on pest control. However, the endeavors of the forest workers and local authorities are not enough. The disease can only be prevented when people actively participate and show interests. When moving trees, the special law on pine wilt disease prevention must be abided, and when a tree suspected of pine wilt disease is discovered, it must be reported immediately. When all citizens work together, we can protect the pine trees.