Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The Olive Garden

According to this report from The Age, Australia's olive groves are producing a lot more than cooking oil and pizza toppings - they're producing weeds. Seems the olive trees (Olea europaea) have a tendency to go feral, and scientists are concerned that stricter regulations need to be put into place to prevent the trees from encroaching on native plant habitats. The scientists are recommending that every olive tree be covered with netting, to prevent birds from grabbing the fruits and dispersing the seeds. While there are an estimated 5 million olive trees currently "in production" in Australia, a significant part of the problem is with groves abandoned after an industry collapse way back in the 1800s.

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