France’s waterways authority will begin felling thousands more plane trees along the historic Canal du Midi on Monday in its ongoing battle against the disease that is killing them.
The destruction of the trees, which will be burned where they fall, will bring the total number cut down along the Unesco site to more than 15,000 in the last nine years.
The plane trees were added in the 1830s to strengthen its banks as well as offer shade from the relentless sun to those using the waterway and reduce evaporation. By 2006, however, it was clear that many of the trees were sick.
Voies Navigables de France (VNF), the country’s waterways authority, fears that all 42,000 plane trees along the 250km canal that links the Atlantic and the Mediterranean will eventually have to be removed, but it has pledged to replace them.
Since 2006 around 13,850 trees have been felled and on Monday, workers began cutting down another 2,200.