In 2012, during preparations for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, new insect species were introduced to the region with saplings destined for Olympic parks and alleys. The pests, having no natural enemies, spread instantly across the Colchis Lowlands and adjacent mountainous areas. In one year, the box tree moth has decimated yew and box-tree groves, chestnut trees, pecans and other nut trees have been seriously damaged by the chestnut gall wasp, and the marble bug has become the main agricultural threat. For rural Abkhazia, where a traditional way of life based on farming, herding and hunting is preserved, changes to the ecosystem are particularly critical. In 2021, a bio-indication and mycology laboratory was established at the Abkhaz Institute of Ecology, with the support of the European Union and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. One of the objectives of the laboratory is to combat invasive pests, saving boxwood and chestnut trees.
Unreasonable human action leads to widespread, often irreversible consequences, the development of which is difficult to assess and predict. Everything is connected to everything: past and future, people and trees, butterflies, fire and water.
I thank the Abkhaz Institute of Ecology, the Abkhaz Research Forest Experiment Station, the UN office in Sukhumi, the residents of Jgerda village and all the lovely people, near and far, who help me to see more. I will continue filming the project in October.