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environmental threats in tuscia

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our fragile ecosystem

One: Grown in the forest or wood, the hazelnut tree itself is not a problem, but when it is grown mono-culturally it has no protection from other plant species and becomes easily vulnerable to pests. These pests have to be sprayed with agri chemicals that pollute the air, soil and water.

Two: The giant corporate hazelnut companies demand the 'perfect' flawless hazelnut gathered in perfect condition after it falls to the ground during the harvest. Growers are mindful of this and spray herbicide under the trees to eliminate any insect or fungal damage, consequently rendering the first 10 cm of topsoil sterile. No Insect or bird life can exist in tandem with hazelnut plantations.

Three: In season, each hazelnut tree requires 30 litres of water per day, which are exhausting all the aquifers in the area as well as polluting the water table

Four: The hazelnut is not a crop that carries any prestige, unlike wine and olive oil which contribute positively to the culture and economy of the region. Moreover, all the value of the hazelnut crop is extracted from the growing area, into the pockets of outside speculators and corporates.

Five: The thousands of hectares of lands used for growing hazelnuts cannot be used for any other crop, limiting the crop-diversity within the region.

Six: There is evidence of serious health issues. Chemicals used for hazelnuts permeate and contaminate local drinking water making it unsuitable for human consumption. The chemicals provoke the formation of a cyanobacterium called 'Plankthotrix Rubescens', commonly called red algae. There has been an increase of rare unexplained cancers around the Lago di Vico area.

Seven: New hazelnut trees take five years to fruit, During this period growers take advantage of an 'organic' subsidy paid out to them by the EU for farming without pesticides, this is only because the tree is too young to fruit. In the sixth year when the fruits appear farmers renounce their organic status and start to spray chemicals on and under the trees, and the damage commences. 

Eight: Tuscia has an important tourist industry, which is seriously threatened by the consequences of hazelnut mono-culture

Nine: There is currently little or no investment for organically growing hazelnuts. The hazelnut is really only important to one company which uses 30% of the global supply. 70000 hectares of this supply will be grown in Italy by 2025.

Ten: Within Tuscia there is a new younger generation of organic farmers whose livelihoods are seriously threatened by the pollution from the hazelnut trees and the costs of land which have risen exponentially because of the prices that hazelnut speculators wish to pay.

Since Autumn 2018 an almost 1000 hectares of new hazelnut trees have been planted within a 10 km radius of Bolsena lake in Central Italy.

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