Deadly Fungus Infects Trees Lining Canal du Midi

Issue date: 19th October 2011

The plane trees lining France's 300-year-old Canal du Midi are being chopped down because of a fungus brought to Europe by US soldiers in World War II.

The deadly fungus has been identified as Ceratocystis Platani, for which there is no current cure. Infected trees have to be cut down and burned on the spot.

The fungus is said to travel through the canal water and just a small scratch on a plane tree is enough for the fungus to infect the tree. The trees can get infected when boats scrape up against the roots.

The trees line the length of the canal on its 240km (150-mile) course from Toulouse to the port of Sete on the Mediterranean. 1,000 trees were cut down last winter, 2,000 more will be felled in the coming months.

France will have to replant a variety of trees it chops down in order for the canal to retain its world heritage site status.

Read the full story on the BBC website