` Olive Trees Face ‘Death by Saw’ in Greece - Olive Oil Times

Olive Trees Face ‘Death by Saw’ in Greece

Nov. 13, 2012
Costas Vasilopoulos

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For many years, petro­leum has been the only source of heat­ing houses and apart­ments in Greece, and only lately nat­ural gas has become an option for big city dwellers. All the rest still depend on petro­leum to keep their homes warm dur­ing the win­ter, espe­cially at the north­ern regions of the coun­try where the weather con­di­tions are harsh.

But with petro­leum prices sky­rock­et­ing to €1.40 per liter and given today’s scarce finan­cial resources, peo­ple are forced to turn to other for­got­ten means of heat­ing such as fire­places and stoves. So, there is an unprece­dented demand for fire­wood and even the gov­ern­ment has inter­vened to pre­vent wet wood from being sold as dry. Trees on the moun­tains are being ille­gally cut down in hun­dreds to pro­duce fire­wood for dis­tressed cit­i­zens.

And lately there have been many inci­dents where olive groves were invaded dur­ing the night and the olive trees were sawed and van­ished. There have been reports from Crete, Korinthia, Messinia and Euboea of farm­ers who were astounded to dis­cover that their pre­cious groves were destroyed. The dam­age for the olive oil indus­try as a whole is min­i­mal, but the dam­age for the sin­gle farmer and fam­ily is huge, since they rely heav­ily on the olive oil they make to secure the year’s sup­ply and even get an extra — and ever­more impor­tant — income from sell­ing some.

Among the many woes the cri­sis car­ries lies another no one could pre­dict, and the per­ish of eco­nomic resources affects many aspects of our day-to-day lives as never before.

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