Xylella Fastidiosa. It seems this bacterium is unstoppable
The discovery of this plague
Mr. Newton B. Pierce who lived from 1856-1916 was California’s first professional plant pathologist. He discovered this pathogenic bacterium which attacks the grapes. It was seen the first time near Anaheim in California and up till today no cure has been found.
There exist many subspecies of Xylella Fastidiosa and it can affect many different hosts. In Europe, 359 different species of plant have shown to be susceptible to this bacterium.
These include grapes, citrus, olive, lavender, peach, oak, rosemary and much more. Often the host plant does not show any symptoms but is a reservoir for infection.
I live in the south of Spain. I read about this first time recently in a Spanish newspaper and I honestly think this is more than unsettling news. Can you imagine the world without trees and plants? Like a desert landscape with no green whatsoever. Fauna cannot exist without its supportive Flora and the same is valid the other way around.
When in California it has been present for some 100 years and still no solution was found for this plague it was only a question of time till it would reach Europe. It was first detected in Italy in 2013 in the region of Puglia. The farmers were putting up a fight not wanting to lose their century-old olive trees and the authorities acted late. The total cost was on 30.000 hectares where 1.5 million trees were lost in the end.
This plague has come to Spain
This bacterium attacks olive trees as well almonds, cherry, fig trees as also grapes and people in Spain were waiting for when it would reach here. In October 2016 it was detected in the Balearic Islands. 3 Young cherry trees from a nursery in Mallorca showed the first signs, then it moved on to the almond trees. This will greatly reduce the almond harvest within a few years, probably by 50%. The drought suffered on the islands and also the abandoning of big farmland has made it more easy for this bacterium to expand itself. On Mallorca, there are 156 plants, 68 in Ibiza, 28 on Menorca which are host to this plague. To pull out the almond and olive trees and destroy them does not only have an economic impact it will affect tourism and the island people as such as their landscape which has been known for centuries will disappear. If they were to follow the urgent recommendation of the European Union these islands would become barren. It is not only the affected tree one has to destroy but everything growing in a 100m radius surrounding this tree as well. Mallorca has some experience with something similar. 100 Years ago the 40.000 hectares of vineyards were reduced to only 2.500 due to Filoxera.
Also in other countries in Europe, the Xylella Fastidiosa has been detected. In July 2015 it arrived on Corcega, 340 cases up till now. Also in the Provence, there are already 20 cases. In Germany has been 1 case registered up to this date. It was in a flowerpot with an Adelfa also called Oleander. Along the highways in Europe and especially in the south, you will often see this plant with it’s pretty white, pink and danker blossoms.
Thousands of years olive culture
In Spain exist 900 different varieties of olives. All are kept in the bank of the Germoplasma Institute of Agriculture formation. Like this, the thousands of years of olive culture are safeguarded. 25.000 square km and thousands of jobs are in jeopardize. Hopefully, soon a solution can be found as there is the risk of Europe and especially the south becoming like a Sahara.
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