Conservation & Research Study of Ancient Olive Trees

 Olive trees are one of the oldest living creatures on our planet. They are unique witnesses of cultural and natural heritage. The olive tree with its fruits and oil plays a central role in the Mediterranean diet with increasing popularity in other regions of the world due to its health benefits. The Greek Islands inhabit most of the oldest living olive trees in the world. We found one such ancient living olive tree on Samos. The tree trunk has an immense perimeter of 11.2 m but is hollow inside. It is said that it was used as a stable for a donkey. The tree is still bearing tasty olives as this year. What is the significance of such an old olive tree? The olive tree is closely situated to the famous Hera Temple, one of the most important temples of ancient Greece and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The philosopher and mathematician Pythgoras was born on Samos (571-495 BC). The generation of his students may have planted this tree. If this age of the tree is true, it is more than enough worth to conserve and protect this tree by better means (Conservation plan developed).

Location:             N 37°45, E 26°83 Island of Samos, Greece

Duration:            Six months, started 1st November 2014

Partners:             Institute of Botany, University of Basel, Switzerland

Progress:            First ancient tree surveyed, dating analysis under way