Elche battles evil weevil invasion to save Unesco heritage palm forest

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Superchilum
HEALTHY: Not all Elche palms have been attacked.

THE red weevil plague has destroyed approximately 50,000 palm trees each year in Elche since 2013.
The city’s famous palm forest is a Unesco world heritage site but this status has not provided protection against the weevils. First detected in 1995 they arrived via imported palms and have attacked trees along the Mediterranean coast.
It was necessary to fell 355 palms in the Palmeral Historico during the first six months of the year and another 66 were removed from city’s streets.
These are worrying figures, said acting mayor and Parks and Gardens councillor Antonio Garcia who, assisted by specialists, is creating a system to detect and prevent the weevil infestations.
This should be ready by October, Garcia revealed. “As well as compiling a census of the city’s palms we must ensure that it is kept up to date and pinpoints trouble spots where we can focus efforts to eradicate the weevils.”
City hall will always opt to use biological methods, Garcia added, but would not hesitate to introduce aggressive measures when necessary.

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