A tree infected by xylella.

02-02-2017Josep Bagur Gomila

A further measure has been introduced in the attempt to prevent the spread of the xylella fastidiosa (olive ebola) bacteria. The regional government has banned the export of any type of plant or tree from Ibiza to the other islands. This prohibition comes on top of the 20 January ban on the export of plants and trees from the Balearics to the mainland.

The measure was taken some days after the agriculture department at the Council of Ibiza became aware of three plants infected by the strain of xylella that has devastated olive trees in southern Italy and which aggressively attacks olive groves and woods. The regional environment and agriculture ministry says that this strain - xylella fastidiosa pauca - causes trees to wilt, dries out leaves and branches and ultimately kills trees off.

The export prohibition is initially for twelve months and it will have a significant impact on Ibiza companies that ship flowers and plants to Formentera. The infected plants are a lavender, an acacia and a polygala (commonly referred to as milkwort), and they were in the gardens at the island council's building.

The regional government has now confirmed a total 106 positive xylella cases, 85 of them in Majorca and 21 in Ibiza. Results of the analysis of samples taken in Minorca will be known this week; so far there have been no confirmed cases in Minorca.

A meeting in Madrid on Thursday next week is to consider the containment measures adopted in the Balearics.

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