Believed to be extinct since 1900, the Sicilian Fir Tree was rediscovered in 1957, yet this symbol of Sicily is now on the brink of extinction. Extraction of this tree began when the Roman Empire drew Sicily into its “grain belt,” clearing forests for use as agricultural land. Starting in the 11th Century, the Sicilian Fir was a primary source of wood used to build ships, fortifications, and towns. Without arboriculture, other tree species, like the invasive Beech tree, gradually replaced the Sicilian Fir. Climate change has constricted the habitat range of Sicilian Fir Trees, worsening these effects. This species is currently on life support, requiring fire suppression and habitat improvements to perpetuate its existence.
Art by Lina Dib