The battle is on to save Rome’s umbrella pine trees – as much a part of the landscape of the Italian capital as its ancient monuments – from a deadly parasite. The trees, which offer respite from Rome’s summer heat, have become infested with pine tortoise scale, insects originally from North America that are capable of killing pines in two to three years. The parasite arrived in Rome three years ago and has infested 80% of the estimated 1m pine trees that adorn the city’s streets, parks and nearby coastal areas. After protests by environmental and cultural associations, as well as Rome residents, Nicola Zingaretti, the president of the surrounding Lazio region, said €500,000 (£435,000) would be set aside to try to save the pine trees, which he said were “a natural and cultural part of the city’s heritage that must be preserved”. “We have taken onboard the alarm cry launched by many Rome citizens and associations,” Zingaretti wrote on Facebook. “The Lazio region will do its part.” A programme to save the trees was drawn up in 2019 by Lazio and Rome authorities but has been hampered by the coronavirus pandemic. “Now the situation requires immediate action,” said […]

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