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Drought killing off pine trees in Nicosia’s parks

Dying trees in Academias park in Nicosia

Dozens of trees are dead and dying in Academias and Athalassa national parks in Nicosia due to the prolonged drought, a forestry department official said on Monday.

The parks are facing serious problems as there is no irrigation system and an increasing number of trees are under threat especially in Academias park.

The majority of pine trees planted in the parks, pinus pinea, are a demanding species which cannot withstand the climatic conditions which prevail in Cyprus at the moment, conservator of the forest department Constantinos Nicolaou told the Cyprus News Agency on Monday.

“It is a more demanding species than the pinus brutia,” he said. “Due to the drought, these trees, because they have been planted years ago are essentially weak and the main reason for their death is water stress and the lack of soil moisture.”

Trees have had to be cut back (CNA)
Trees have had to be cut back (CNA)

The trees are also susceptible to bark-eating insects which kill off the already weakened plants.

Dead trees have to be cut down as soon as possible to reduce the spread of the insect pests which may otherwise attack healthy plants.

The forestry department is also concerned about possible wildfires due to the large amount of dry material, another reason for removing the dead material promptly.

Nicolaou explained the forestry department is planning to plant more drought resistant plants, possibly pines, wild olive trees, wild carob trees and others in November.

These small plants are expected to take a few years to grow. In the meantime, the possibility of planting larger trees to fill gaps is being studied.

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