Dr. Enggar: Controlling Teak Caterpillars with Biodiversity
Monoculture teak forest is an abundant habitat for pests and diseases. In it, population and disease often occur. One of the problems faced is the continuous attack of teak cattepillars (H. puera). From year to year, this caterpillar is even a major pest that causes total defoliation.
According to a lecturer of Faculty of Agriculture University of Bengkulu, Ir. Enggar Apriyanto, M.Agr.Sc., teak stem attacked will lose leaves even in the rainy season. "A teak tree aged 14 years old attacked by caterpillars that experiences moderate to severe defoliation can lose up to 44% volume or 3.7 m2 per year per hectare," he said at the Faculty of Forestry, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Thursday (25/2), during an open examination of Forestry Sciences Doctoral Program.
Although the problem causes economic losses and disrupts the management of sustainable forest ecosystems, efforts to control caterpillars in Indonesia are still not done. "Therefore, efforts must be made in a comprehensive manner to minimize the damage," said the man born in Magetan, 7 April 1961.
In the view of the husband of Indah Manfa'ati and father of Gavan Athalah Fikri M, integrated pest control is a good choice. In connection with that, ecological, economic, social aspects can be taken into consideration for policy making. An understanding of insect population , the dynamics of host plants, and environmental factors is, therefore, fundamental.
Research conducted by Enggar in South and North Walikukun Forest , in Ngawi between July 2007 - August 2008 showed the population of teak caterpillar at the end of dry season and at the beginning of rainy season was dominated by the young larvae, or an early indication of population increase.
"Caterpillars have approximately 17 generations in one year. The presence of larvae in each observation strengthens the evidence that these pests do not experience a break during the dry season when most of the leaves fall," explained Enggar. Therefore, to overcome this pest, predators are needed, such as Philantus sp. Syrphid,Â grasshoppers, Cocconelia transversalis, spiders, red ants, black ants, and Lanius christalus bird.
"Increasing biodiversity, managing the structure of age, and keeping the forest from damage can improve teak forest ecosystem," said Enggar Apriyanto who graduated with cum laude distinction.