Sadly, the famous plane trees that form a shady avenue along the picturesque Canal du Midi are gradually being lost. In 2006 it was found that the species was suffering from a virulent parasitic fungus – the Chancre Coloré or Canker Stain – thought to have been inadvertently introduced in wooden ammunition boxes during WW2.
So far, 2,315 trees have been felled (1,600 during the 2012-2013 winter period) but it is thought that some 8,500 to 10,000 trees are contaminated, out of a total of 42,000 that border the canal. Trees located within 30m of an affected specimen must also be cut down.
Replanting is proceeding, using an American type that is resistant to the disease, but it will be many years before this historic, World Heritage, waterway returns to her full former glory.
The estimated cost of addressing the problem is 200 million euros, of which actual felling is 68m€, replanting 54m€, bankside repairs 72m€ and protective measures 6m€.