Mr. Chencho Norbu, Executive Director of the AFoCO, initiated the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Royal Government of Bhutan for the implementation of a research project on “Assessment of Adelgid diversity and distribution in conifer forest of Bhutan to mitigate future outbreaks”. The research project will be implemented by the Ugyen Wangchuck Institute for Conservation and Environmental Research (UWICER), a forestry research institute under the Department of Forests and Park Services.
The research project will primarily aim to increase scientific and technical knowledge on forest pests and diseases with a special focus on determining the identification and distribution of Adelgid species found in Bhutan. With these findings, it will help the Department of Forests and Park Services to develop effective management strategies for controlling the spread of Adelgids in conifer forest of Bhutan, which is perceived as a growing and potential threat to sustainable forest management in Bhutan.
The research project will also have capacity development components to train forestry professionals and local communities in identification, survey and control of the insect. For sustainability, the project will also help integrate the insect and pest surveillance into the existing Spatial Monitoring and Reporting Tool (SMART). Once incorporated, SMART can help in real time access and integration of information on location of major forest insect and pest outbreaks, thus strengthening monitoring of forest health.
This will be the second AFoCO project in Bhutan, since the country formally became a member of the organization in the year 2018. The research project is funded by the National Institute of Forest Science (NIFoS) of the Republic of Korea, as a part of AFoCO-NIFoS collaboration. The implementation of the project will commence in October 2020 and is expected to be completed within two years.
It is anticipated that this research project will help contribute to strengthening sustainable forest management practices in Bhutan, especially in areas of forest pests and diseases management.
Contributed by Tshering Lhab, AFoCO Fellowship Official from Bhutan