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65-million trees and R288bn: scientists tot up huge impact of ...

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65-million trees and R288bn: scientists tot up huge impact of tiny beetle

The invasive pest has been munching its way through SA’s urban canopy at an alarming rate

Wiida Basson

The potential economic impact of the polyphagous shot hole borer in SA amounts to $18.5bn (about R288bn) over the next decade, and municipalities will have to bear the brunt of this cost if nothing is done to stem the tide.

The warning comes from scientists who have monitored the shot hole borer since it was detected in SA in 2012. It has since spread to eight provinces, making it the largest current outbreak of this invasive pest globally.

Most of SA’s notorious invasive species are problematic in rural areas, but the scientists said the shot hole borer will have the largest impact on trees in urban areas...

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