Billions of locusts have invaded fields across the Italian island of Sardinia. The invasion is projected to affect an area of around 60,000 hectares this year, double that of 2021 and compared with just 2,000 hectares in 2019.
In 1946, about 1.5 million hectares of land, accounting for two-thirds of the island’s territory, were affected as locusts spread quickly across fields abandoned during World War Two.
Ignazio Floris, a teacher of General and Applied Entomology at Sardinia’s Sassari University, said that depopulation and uncultivated lands were once again one of the main reasons behind this kind of natural event.h
Rising temperatures and lack of rain also play a big role as dry and compacted soil make it easier for locusts to lay their eggs.
Sardinian farmers are ready to play a more important role in helping to fight the plague by plowing more of their land.
“Here people farm the land to avoid purchasing fodder and other animal feeds,” said Rita Zaru, the mayor of Noragugume, where over 70% of the around 280 inhabitants are employed in farming and shepherding.
Zaru said that anyone who had opted to farm grassland this year to boost milk production had lost the whole of their initial investment because of the locusts.
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