15 Jul

Greek island takes olive tree census

Scientists are trying to catalogue hundreds of olive trees, some more than 1,000 years old, on the Greek island of Crete in a bid to save them from abandonment amid falling olive prices, an agronomy institute said on Wednesday.

Olives have for centuries been a Cretan staple and a major source of income but falling prices threaten the trees’ as the crop is unprofitable.

Some of trees date back more than 1,000 years, as old as Greece’s famed archaeological treasures, scientists say. “We want to determine the age of these natural monuments and protect them,” Dimitris Lidakis, director of Crete’s School of Agronomy told AFP.

Hundreds of olive trees have already been cleared for construction, prompting the environmental initiative organised by some 30 associations and supported by the local technical institute.

Organiser Bella Lasithiotaki said there was one olive tree in the northern village of Vrysses in Rethymno prefecture that was more than 1,000 years old, with a trunk around 20 metres (66 feet) in circumference.

Another four trees of the same age have been located in the neighbouring prefecture of Iraklio, the semi-state Athens News Agency reported.

On a visit to Greece last year, Chinese President Hu Jintao visited a Crete archaeological cooperative where he helped workers picking olives.

[Source] Click here

5 Responses to “Greek island takes olive tree census”

  1. Brian Robertson Says:

    That is unreal the size of the 1000+ year old olive tree – 66 feet in circumference – unbelievable.

  2. David Says:

    Most of the olive varieties of the world are ancient in origin and there are a long way to work and studing about it. Crete is a good example of genetic bank for conservation.

  3. Miquel Says:

    It is not the only census of monumental olive trees, in the region near the Ebro delta, in the Southern tip of Catalonia, they also conducted such a census and it resulted in over 4000 millenary olive trees in the area of the study, coincidentally I was doing some research on it yesterday, her eis the story I wrote in case it is of interest:
    Olive trees can live for hundreds or thousands of years…it is amazing, coincidentally I just wrote a post in my blog about a region of Spain that has the largest concentration of millenary olive trees in Europe, some of them possibly planted by the Romans…and there are some olive oil brands that are starting now that are going to produce oil from +1000-year-old trees. Here is the story I was talking about, hope you like it: http://gourmetorigins.com/blog/the-thousand-years-old-olive-oil/

  4. Rachel Says:

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  5. Marina Says:

    One of these old trees are mine and they are still giving fruits (olives). =)

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