Postcard from... Bonn
Chainsaws and sniffer dogs are the most effective weapons in a vicious war currently being fought in a leafy suburb of Bonn, the city on the river Rhine once famous for being West Germany's political capital.
An army of local authority workers has been hard at work chopping down scores of the city's resplendent maple trees and taking the felled wood to a giant municipal incinerator where it is burned immediately. Over 150 trees have been chopped down so far and many more are certain to follow.
The draconian measures are an attempt to stem an invasion of Asian long-horned beetles – a tree-destroying species considered one of the most voracious in the world. The beetles, which originate in the Far East, eat up trees from the inside. Any tree discovered with their larvae nestling in its bark is considered as good as dead.
In Bonn, special sniffer dogs have even been trained to locate infected trees. The city's environmental experts say wiping out the invaders is the only way to get a grip on the problem.
As a result, hundreds of healthy maple trees are being felled in an attempt to stop the invasion spreading. But many residents are nonplussed. "It's not easy to explain to people that we have to chop down healthy trees to protect the trees," Reiner Schrage, the area's chief forestry inspector, says.
The beetles are thought to have come from a nearby factory that has been importing goods from China since 2005. Central Bonn is renowned for its tree-lined avenues and Mr Schrage warns of a " dramatic outcome" if beetles manage to advance that far into the city.
- 1 Oxygen-starved 'dead zones' with no marine life up to 100-miles long discovered in the Atlantic Ocean
- 2 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
- 4 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 5 Tory activist asked to step down after Labour candidate Rupa Huq is 'manhandled' while questioning Boris Johnson on the campaign trail
General Election 2015: Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind as he casts a line to the disaffected of Grimsby
The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
Oxygen-starved 'dead zones' with no marine life up to 100-miles long discovered in the Atlantic Ocean
Russian warships accused of 'chasing away' Swedish vessel to prevent Baltic States from achieving energy independence
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...
£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...
£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...
£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...