Tuesday, 23 February 2010 09:11

Södra aims for non-toxic plant protection

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Södra Odlarna, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Södra, has started a project to develop a mechanical method for protecting plants against pine weevil infestation. The objective is chemical-free forest regeneration.

The Södra Odlarna board recently resolved to develop a proprietary - and non-toxic - method of protecting forest plants against pine weevil infestation. The project will initially run for two years and Andreas Alvehus has been employed as full-time project leader. Andreas was previously head of forest conservation in Tingsryd, Småland. The project is being jointly run by Södra Odlarna and Södra Skog.

"We are working on a broad and open-ended basis and are looking at the effect of the protection itself as well as the entire chain from seedling to planting and degradability of the protection device. Two experienced pine-weevil researchers are involved in the project and we are working with the university and specialists in the fields of material, biology and mechanisation," says Andreas Alvehus.
"Putting such an effort into mechanical protection is natural given Södra's FSC membership and our ambition to run sustainable and ecofriendly forestry," says Göran Örlander, Södra's chief forester.

The project will be evaluated in two years, and plans made to scale it up. If the project succeeds, it will be at least three or four years before a fully-functional and cost-effective mechanical plant protection device has been field-tested and can be made available for Södra members.

Pine weevil infestation is by far the biggest cause of damage to forest plants in southern Sweden, causing substantial damage to planted seedlings each year. An average of 80 per cent of plants not protected against the pine weevil die. Some 90 per cent of plants sold in Götaland are currently treated with chemical insecticide.

For further information, please contact:
Andreas Alvehus, Project manager mechanical plant protection, +46 346 29605
Per Braconier, Director of communications, +46 70 534 5166
Göran Örlander, Chief forester, +46 470 89362

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