Ruling PASOK MEP Kriton Arsenis on Monday submitted a written proposal to the European Commission calling for the immediate adoption of extraordinary measures to combat a fungus epidemic that threatens plane trees across the European Union.
Thousands of plane trees have already been killed in Greece by a disease caused by the “Ceratocystis platani” fungus while there are fears that it could take up the dimension of an ecological disaster.
Arsenis called on the European Commission to issue a decision on the adoption of extraordinary measures to prevent the spread of the fungus to the rest of the EU and fund scientific research that will lead to the treatment of the disease.
The virulent incurable canker stain disease caused by the “Ceratocystis platani” fungus is one of the most catastrophic diseases of forest trees worldwide, National Agricultural Research Foundation (N.AG.RE.F.) - Institute of Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems forester-plant pathologist Panagiotis Tsopelas told ANA-MPA.
The fungus was first traced in Messinia, Peloponnese in southern Greece, in 2003 and has already infected and killed thousands of plane trees in the region while recently the disease was spotted in the province on Epirus in the northwest.
Tsopelas underlined that because of the highly contagious nature of the spores that cause the infection all traces of diseased trees must be destroyed on site and all equipment used to cut or prune the trees should be carefully disinfected before being used again. A plane tree regardless of its size and age if infected by the fungus will not live for more than two years.