The Farmer Trying to Save Italy's Ancient Olive Trees

An imported strain of bacteria is threatening to destroy olive trees in Italy that produce about 12 percent of the world’s olive oil. An agronomist is working with other scientists to graft trees — taking a different kind of tree that could be resistant to the bacteria and inserting it into the trunk of an older tree. After years of trial and error, they’ve found some success. On one farm, 70 percent of the grafts used have survived. But conspiracy theories and financial difficulties have made it a challenge to have a coordinated response to the problem.

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