EU Measure Spares Monumental Trees as New Xylella Cases Emerge

New measures allow replanting trees in the infected area and allow the sparing of uncontaminated monumental olive trees. Meanwhile, new cases of infected plants have appeared further north.

By Ylenia Granitto
Nov. 9, 2017 11:20 UTC

The European Union approved new mea­sures for the man­age­ment of areas con­t­a­m­i­nated by Xylella fas­tidiosa (Xf). After hear­ing requests by Italy, the Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed (PAFF Committee) dur­ing its last meet­ing in Brussels approved the text of the European emer­gency mea­sures to pre­vent the spread of the bac­te­ria.

The new plan pro­vides for:

  • The pos­si­bil­ity to replant trees in the infected area, with the excep­tion of the north­ern­most 20km (12.42mi)
  • The right to not raze uncon­t­a­m­i­nated mon­u­men­tal olive trees within 100m (328ft) of any plant ver­i­fied to be infected, on con­di­tion that they are pro­tected by the spit­tle­bug vec­tor of Xf and reg­u­larly inspected
  • The option of free han­dling the three vine vari­eties Negroamaro, Primitivo and Cabernet Sauvignon (which were found to be not sus­cep­ti­ble to Xf) from the demar­cated area

The new mea­sures also pro­vide for the strength­en­ing of inspec­tions of European pro­duc­tion sites of olive trees and other plant species that can be affected by the bac­te­ria such as ole­an­der and almond trees.
See Also:Articles on Xylella Fastidiosa
The deci­sion was the result of per­sis­tent diplo­matic work over the past few weeks in Brussels, said Minister of Agriculture Maurizio Martina, who added that the pro­tec­tive mea­sures applied to imports will pro­vide greater safety guar­an­tees.

The adop­tion of new rules occurred shortly after the detec­tion of new infected plants in in the province of Brindisi. According to diag­noses by the Phytosanitary Observatory of the Apulia Region, since the begin­ning of October the bac­te­ria was found on four­teen olive trees near the Northern limit of the buffer zone: twelve in the area of Ostuni and two oth­ers in Ceglie Messapica and Casalini, a dis­trict of Cisternino.

This sug­gests that that the dis­ease has headed north and the buffer zone should be extended to the south­ern part of the province of Bari.

According to EU rules, if the pres­ence of the spec­i­fied organ­ism is con­firmed in the buffer zone, the delim­i­ta­tion of the infected zone and buffer zone shall imme­di­ately be reviewed and changed accord­ingly.”

Furthermore, some olive trees are located at ele­va­tion 300m (984ft) above sea level, which is the high­est alti­tude so far asso­ci­ated with the pres­ence of Xylella. This is one of the rea­sons super­vi­sory author­i­ties and sci­en­tists are push­ing to find effec­tive solu­tions.

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