In southern Italy, a strain of bacteria is destroying ancient olive groves. The European Union has proposed a range of emergency measures to stop the spread of the disease, including asking Italy to destroy affected trees to establish a buffer zone. About one million olive trees are now threatened with the chop.
The disease is affecting Puglia, a poorer region of Italy where olive farming is a centuries-old tradition and a mainstay of the economy. The destructive xylella fastidiosa bacterium spread to Italy from the Americas.