Olives are harvested for the first time in years at Azienda Agricola Vergari on October 21, 2021 in the countryside of Supersano, Italy. Like almost all olive growers in the Salento peninsula, an area known for its olive oil and its ancient olive groves, Vergari lost most of its olive trees to Xylella fastidiosa, a plant bacteria from Central America that over the past ten years has affected millions of trees, turning an entire province into a cemetery of dead tree trunks.
LE CESINE NATURE RESERVE, ITALY: Fire, temperature and weather sensors are set up by the CMCC (Euro-Mediterranean Centre on Climate Change) to monitor and predict wildfires seen on September 22, 2021 in Le Cesine nature reserve, Italy. The recent and unprecedented wildfires around the Mediterranean Sea prompted leaders to sign a historic agreement to collectively tackle climate change. (Photo by Janos Chiala/Getty Images)
Its olive trees ravaged by the Xylella pandemic and its fields parched by drought, Salento is literally a tinderbox. Small fires break out all the time, and where once you would have seen crowds of people working frantically to save their family’s trees, today you see absolutely nothing, as trunks that stood for centuries burn and crumble into ashes, and nobody cares.
View this post on Instagram A post shared by János Chialá (@janosino) The owner of this field signed a contract with a firm, which also operates the largest olive oil mill in the area, to have all of his trees eradicated, ground into chipped wood and shipped to a biomass power plant in Calabria, some 500 km away, a sorry ending for these majestic trees that used to be the pride of the region.