Fungus Endangering Kefalonia Plane Trees

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Impressive plane trees inextricably linked to our historic monasteries, to the central entrances of our villages, to our squares where countless festivals are set beneath their dew, centuries-old plane trees that are rooted and observe any changes brought by time, a disease that, sooner or later, if the right measures are not taken, tends to be destroyed, frozen, leaving a large gap in our hearts.

It is not only the palm trees that have been affected by the beetle and have slowly eaten them. There are a series of plane trees, which have begun to be endangered by a fungus, which, unfortunately, have no effective means to combat them once the tree is attacked.

The disease caused by the plane trees is called “post-chromatic plane tree ulcer” and is caused by the fungus Ceratocystis fimbriata. F. sp. Platani, which first appeared in France in 1945 and is now more widely seen in Mediterranean countries Italy, Spain and Greece.

A disease that threatens to exterminate the plane trees with what this entails for the nesting birds, wildlife, insects and microorganisms in each area, but also for man himself.

Ignorance but mainly state oligarchy, because at first some people underestimated the disease, led to today’s mess. In 2005, Professor Tom Harrington of the Iowa State University, an international scientist, sent a letter to the Department of Rural Development and Food stating the dangers of the disease, but no action was taken to prevent it from expanding.

Immediate activation of competent regional and municipal services, action and effective coordination to resolve such serious problems are the responsibility of every politician in charge. Unfortunately, it seems that the issues of plant health and invasive organisms have not been given the necessary weight so far.

It is shocking to learn that in a few years there is a chance to see the perennial plane trees of Kefalonia only in commemorative photos. This is something that should not happen!

Since the plane trees, these tree-lined trees, are silent witnesses of our Byzantine, modern and modern history and part of our cultural heritage that we must preserve, I propose declaring our historical plane trees to be Preserved Monuments. placement of protective structures to support trunk and branches), to be highlighted (installation of special lighting as well as interpretation boards with information of folklore and cultural interest) shower, etc) and remain in perpetuity as a natural heritage for every area of our Island and for future generations.

Dr. Spyridon A. Theotokato

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