After Yongchak, it is Pine trees to stare a bleak future in Ukhrul

Ukhrul, Oct 5 : After the last year's mysterious phenomenon of Yongchak (Stick bean) trees dying, Pine trees growing in most part of Ukhrul district have started drying up.

When The Sangai Express conducted an on the spot survey, it was noticed that most of the Pine trees growing in the Pine farms of the district are drying up and withering away in a most unusual manner.

In the northern parts of the district like Phangrei and its adjoining mountain ranges which are covered with Pine trees, Pine trees have dried up extensively.

Similar phenomenon could also be noticed at Tusom, Kharasom and Vahong areas which are traditionally considered to be the treasure trove of Pine forests in the district.

A picture of a pine tree withering away in Ukhrul

According to the villagers, dying of Pine-trees is not a new phenomenon.

In the days of their forefathers, it was called Matang-Mao which literally means Pine-Disease.

But they have no remedy nor knowledge on prevention of such seasonal disease.

Sources in the office of Forest Department, Ukhrul explained that sudden drying up of Pine trees in Ukhrul may be attributed to random and frequent hunting of animals by the people that affect natural growth of soft trees like Pine.

A type of flying squirrel, locally known as 'Sharuk' normally feed on the harmful insects that live on the barks and leaves of Pine trees, thus protecting the tree and helping in its natural growth.

However, over the years, the population of 'Sharuk' in the Pine forests of the district has come down on account of unrestrained hunting.

Another probable factor for the drying up Pine trees could be the environmental changes sweeping across the region today with unpredictable climatic conditions, sources added.