Community analyses of plant-parasitic nematodes in tea plantations of West Bengal, India

B. Mukherjee, M. K. Dasgupta

Abstract


Tea (Camellia sinensis L.) occupies a prominent place as an export crop in India. In West Bengal, it is cultivated in the subtropical Terai foot-hills and the high hills at different altitudes up to 6,500 ft. ASL over about 18,000 hectares. Most of the tea bushes in Darjeeling hill areas are about 80 years old and their leafbearing capacity has declined considerably. In West Bengal, the number of active tea gardens has dwindled from 100 to 74 and the average yield is 63 Kg/ha against the all-India average of 1500 Kg/ha (Indian Tea Board Golden Jubilee Supplement, Amrita Bazar Patrika, Calcutta, Sept. 4, 1980). Little information is available on plant nematodes associated with tea plantations in West Bengal. While 35 nematodes species have been found to be associated with tea, mainly from North-East India and South India (Sivapalan, 1972; Khera and Chaturvedi, 1977; and Baqri, 1978), only four species have so far been reported from West Bengal (Baqri, 1978). The purpose of this study was to investigate the incidence of endo - and ectoparasitic plant nematodes in mature and declining tea plantations of West Bengal and to make a community analysis.

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