An Olive Tree Epidemic
The book Fastidiosa by Jean-Marc Caimi and Valentina Piccinni is a personal account about Xylella, a bacteria killing millions of trees in Southern Italy.
The area of Salento, Apulia, is known for its olive oil, which is its main source of income. In 2013 a disease called Xylella, spread by sap sucking insects, started infecting olive trees, killing them from the inside out. The EU imposed local farmers to cut down all trees within 100 metres of one infected, to prevent the spread of the epidemic into northern Europe. Millions of centenary olive trees have since been cut.
The photography duo Jean-Marc Caimi and Valentina Piccinni spent six years living in an olive oil mill to document this phenomenon in the region, interviewing the farmers about the loss of their natural and cultural heritage. The book mixes photos from the fields with archival material and images of the scientific research carried out to find a solution to an ongoing plague.