Arts, Culture & Media

Fungus Hits Trees Along France's Canal du Midi


Canal du Midi (Photo: Peter Gugerell, Vienna, Austria)

A barge trip is de rigueur for this Geo Quiz. We're traveling along a peaceful and picturesque waterway in the south of France. It's called the 'Canal du Midi'. The canal was built at the end of the 17th century as an offshoot of the Garonne river. It created a shortcut from the Atlantic ocean to the Mediterranean sea. Ships coming down from the Atlantic would no longer have to sail around Spain to carry goods to the South of France.

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Along this 150-mile-waterway, you'll see dozens of beautiful bridges, locks and aqueducts. There are also rows of majestic plane trees arching over the canal but those iconic trees have been suffering from a devastating fungus and they may have to be cut down.

We want you to name the city in southwest France where this canal originates. It's known as the "Pink City" because of its light red brick buildings.

And the answer is Toulouse. Approximately 42,000 trees that line the Canal du Midi in France are under threat. A fungus has been attacking the trees for a few years and it has indeed been very difficult to control it from spreading. Specialists predict that all the trees will have to be chopped down, burned and replaced over the next 20 years. Anchor Lisa Mullins speaks with Guardian journalist Kim Willsher.