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The idea behind using dogs to save dying olive trees in Italy

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The region’s lower part is now covered in an endless sea of grey, dead tree trunks, dotted with the remnants of thousands of tiny farms, olive mills, and greenhouses.

The proprietor of Vivai Giuranna, Mauro Giuranna, has firsthand knowledge of a Xylella attack. When plant inspectors discovered infected plants in his greenhouse, he was forced to get rid of plants worth about €1 million ($1 million/£900,000).

Giuranna laments, “We were too superficial [in our response to Xylella in the first years]. There are no longer any grand olive trees.

He wished the controls had been quicker and more precise. President Michele Emiliano, the regional governor, was initially dubious about a connection between Xylella and the quick desiccation of olive trees.

The scientists accused of spreading the bacteria themselves while trying to stop it were put on trial (eventually, all charges were dropped). The European Commission looked into Italy because of a subpar response.

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