August 2022
Salento, Italy

Adopt an olive tree

A collaborative project with the initiative ADOTTIAMO UN ULIVO for the protection of Salento's olive groves

The Salento peninsula in southern Italy is famous for its olive groves. Millions of olive trees, many already several hundred, some even a thousand years old, adorn the idyllic landscape. They are the pride of generations of small farmers and the landmarks of the Puglia region. Together with the initiative ADOTTIAMO UN ULIVO, we have dedicated ourselves to their protection.

Salento, the heart of Italian olive oil production

The Salento peninsula has been the center of Italian olive oil production for more than 300 years. The local olive oil produced by small family farms is world famous, partly because the craft of olive oil pressing has been passed down for generations. The olive groves in the region have often been owned by local families for many decades, and for many they have become like family members over time. The trees that the farmers take care of today are the same ones that their great-great-grandparents took care of. They know each one of them and know exactly which varieties from which location are suitable for which olive oil. Because the characteristic, aroma and quality of an olive oil depend not only on the soil, but also strongly on the type of tree whose fruit is used for pressing.

Why is it important to protect the olive groves of the Salento Peninsula?

The olive groves of Salento are not only the livelihood of the local people, but they are also deeply interwoven with their identity. Life without the beloved giants is unimaginable for the inhabitants, especially since many of the trees on the peninsula are already several hundred, some even well over a thousand years old. But the idyll has been threatened for some years by the outbreak of a plant disease that is responsible for a veritable mass death of olive trees: the "Olive Quick Decline Syndrome" (OQDS), triggered by the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa. The bacterium is classified as one of the world's most dangerous pathogens for plants and leads to the death of an olive tree within a few months of infection. Since it was first detected in 2008, the bacterium has spread through the region like fire blight.

Olive trees wither due to Xylella fastidiosa.
Olive trees wither due to Xylella fastidiosa.

The pathogen is transmitted from one plant to the next by insects such as the foam cicada. Without human intervention, there probably would have been hardly any olive trees left on the peninsula long ago, because unhindered, the pathogen would most likely have infected them all by now. In addition to attempting to make the region unattractive to insects and prevent their reproduction through a wide variety of measures, such as mowing down flowering meadows, the local government is primarily relying on the destruction of infected trees and all plants in their vicinity and the establishment of quarantine and buffer zones.

Schäden verursacht durch Xylella fastidiosa.
Schäden verursacht durch Xylella fastidiosa

A catastrophe for humans and nature

Although the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa, which is completely harmless to humans and animals, is only about one thousandth of a millimeter in size, it is nevertheless responsible for one of the greatest disasters the region has ever faced. In addition to the great economic damage it causes - countless small farmers lose their livelihoods due to olive tree death - its ecological consequences are also far-reaching and threaten to change the nature of Puglia forever. In addition to olive trees, other plants, such as almond trees, are also at risk and the region is gradually losing a significant part of its flora. The government's attempts to combat the pathogen by repressing the insects that transmit it are causing large-scale insect mortality in the region. In addition, southern Italy is already facing increasing desertification, accelerated by the decline of shade-giving olive trees. Without the protective massive canopy of olive trees, temperatures are rising even more significantly, even faster, with far-reaching consequences for humans, wildlife and nature. Amidst this tragedy, however, a ray of hope is emerging. For there are olive tree species that appear to be resistant to the pathogen.

The time to act is NOW

Together with the initiative "ADOTTIAMO UN ULIVO - Adopt an Olive Tree" we decided to no longer stand idly by and contribute to the protection of the olive groves in Salento. According to the current state of science, there is nothing we can do to save the already infected hundreds of years old olive trees, but we can do something to replant the destroyed olive groves with more resistant olive trees! Salento's famous olive groves are a treasure for the entire world and are ecologically immensely valuable. We owe it to ourselves and our descendants to preserve them.

Join us and adopt an olive tree!

Together we can make a contribution to make Salento's treasure shine anew and give the peninsula its olive trees back. Join us and adopt an olive tree!

Together with our partner, the initiative ADOTTIAMO UN ULIVO, consisting of the municipality of Caprarica di Lecce, local associations and small businesses as well as countless small farmers and people from the region and around the world, we are planting new olive groves. Every single tree counts. The land for this project was provided by the municipality. With your donation, you make it possible for a new olive tree to be planted and at the same time ensure its care for one, two or three years.

Spende einen Olivenbaum der deinen Namen trägt
Spende einen Olivenbaum
Spende einen Olivenbaum

The following sponsorships are possible:


1 year:   199 Euro

2 years: 380 Euro

3 years: 550 Euro

As a thank you for your support, a new tree will be named after you and a plaque with your name will be placed on it. This olive tree will then become your own personal foster tree and will keep your name even if you decide not to extend your sponsorship in the future. For the duration of your sponsorship, you will also have the opportunity to receive 12 personalized 0.75 liter bottles of the finest extra virgin olive oil each December.*


In addition, you will of course receive a certificate about your adopted tree and have the opportunity to visit the olive grove itself and be present at the pressing of the olive oil, if you wish and after making an appointment


* Shipping costs for deliveries within Italy can be covered by our project partner. However, we ask for your understanding that the shipping costs for deliveries outside Italy must be charged separately depending on the country. This is necessary so that your donation can be fully used for the care and protection of your olive tree. However, you are really only paying for the shipping, the 12 bottles of olive oil itself are a small gift from your tree as a thank you for each month of support. Furthermore, we ask for your understanding that for organizational reasons only sponsorships concluded by the end of October of each year can be considered for an olive oil delivery in the same year. All sponsorships entered into from November 1 onwards will be considered for the delivery of olive oil in the following year. If you want to know more about shipping costs or about the project in general, just send us an email to



Projekt Info
Project Goals
  •   Reforestation of the Salento olive groves
  •   Protection of the biodiversity of the region
  •   Contribution to slowing down the progressive desertification in the region
Projekt Location

Salento, Italy

Project period
Project partner