Ancient garden ornaments for sale

 
24 January 2018 | By Caspar Jebsen
Photo by: Jorge Guerro

Ancient olive trees in Spain are in jeopardy from being uprooted and sold off as garden ornaments to customers overseas. Customers are willing to pay up to 30,000 euros for one tree, depending on its size and age. Olive trees are relatively short, reaching an average height of 12 meters tall with fairly wide trunks depending on their age, which can reach more than 2000 years. The trees have both economical, cultural and historical value to their regions, having lived through significant historical events and supplied multiple generations with their fruit including the Romans and the Moors. 

This new niche market has enabled olive farmers to make a ‘quick buck’ in a country still recovering from the recent economic recession. Younger olive trees have higher yields and therefore provide farmers with a larger harvest. However, olive trees require just the right conditions to be able to grow, and usually only begin to fruit after 3-5 years.

Photo by: med-o-med

Olive trees require extensive care to survive in foreign environments not naturally suited for them, as a result they often do not survive for more than a few years after being shipped abroad. 

The issue raises a series of questions. Is it right to leave the fate of these ancient trees in the hands of one farmer for personal gain? France and Italy have banned the practice of selling ancient trees, in Spain the region of Valencia has also banned the sale and export of trees older than 350 years, in Andalusia, however, the practice is still unregulated and perfectly legal. 

Photo by: Mark Hodson

Yet in the view of the owner these trees might be taking up space which can be used to cultivate younger and higher yielding trees. Spain is the largest exporter of olives globally therefore making the olive industry highly competitive, which undoubtedly would be leading some owners to consider to join the practice of selling some of their older trees. 

Areas in which the sale of trees has been restricted, owners have come up with alternatives to benefit from the value of ancient olive trees, including selling the yields from ancient trees for substantially higher prices, or to include their trees in tourism tours in the area hoping to attract paying guests to visit the trees.
Read more HERE.
 

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