Inside the Race to Save Italy’s Olive Trees

Inside the Race to Save Italy’s Olive Trees

The first withered olive trees appeared near Gallipoli, in the Apulia region of southern Italy. Bunches of leaves turned brown and crunchy around the edges. Then, whole groves started to wane. Farmers whose families had tended olives for generations watched their trees dry up and their businesses plummet.

Scientists and growers are trying to find olive cultivars resistant to the devastating Xylella so they can replace the dead and dying trees. They’ve found a few promising options, but they need to see whether the oil made from the new cultivars tastes good. These vials are filled with oil from several new cultivars, which growers will test for taste and other signs of quality.

At first, it wasn’t clear what was causing the decline. Was it a fungus? A virus? Something else entirely? Scientists showed up in the olive…

read more: www.nationalgeographic.com

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