A Protected territory is a topographical space, recognised,
devoted and oversaw, through lawful or other powerful means, to accomplish the long-term
preservation of nature with related associated
ecosystem services and cultural values.
The Maltese Islands has over 90 km2 of the land
protected by law or legislation and some even by more than one. Incorporated
into this is 42km2 of land which is under the protection of the EU
Natura 2000 Network of protected zones. Also, 30% of Maltese Waters have become marine protected areas.
Natura 2000 is an Eu network of nature protection zones,
set up to guarantee the survival of Europe’s most important and vulnerable
terrestrial and marine species and territories for future generations. The
Natura 2000 system was created as a result of the concern of civilians over
the loss of Europe’s biodiversity. Natura 200 follows a pledge to “halt the loss
of Biodiversity by 2010” as stated in Gothenburg 2001 by Eu leaders.
There are 34 local Natura 2000 sites that cover roughly
42km (13.5%) of the Maltese Islands. The sites incorporated in the Natura 2000
are the the minor islands (Kemmuna, Filfla and Selmunett, and their
encompassing islets), coastal
cliffs (Rdumijiet ta’ Malta: Ir-Ramla ta?-?irkewwa sal-Ponta ta’ Beng?isa),
saline marshlands (Is-Salini and Il-Ballut ta’ Marsaxlokk), sandy shorelines
and dunes (L-In?awi tal-G?adira and L-In?awi tar-Ramla), territories of
garrigue and maquis (L-In?awi ta’ Pembroke and Il-Qortin tal-Magun u l-Qortin
il-Kbir), forest regions (L-In?awi tal-Buskett u Il-Girgenti and Il-Ballut
tal-Wardija), and caves and other
geological features (G?ar Dalam and Il-Maqluba).
Comino is a little island of the Maltese archipelago
between the islands of Malta and Gozo in the Mediterranean Sea, estimating 3.5
square kilometers in territory. Named after the cumin seed that once prospered
in the Maltese islands, Comino is noted for its quietness and segregation. Comino
is a bird sanctuary and nature reserve.
Comino is of great environmental importance. The island is
shaped from the disintegration of solvent rock, which include, limestone,
dolomite, and gypsum (karst scene) supporting sclerophylls’ shrubland. Some
restricted afforestation with pine trees has been done. The sand-rises at Santa
Maria cove hold some local vegetation, including Vitex and Tamarix trees. The
island has been distinguished as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife
International since it supports 50– 80 reproducing sets of yelkouan shearwaters.
Filfla is a little, for the most part desolate, uninhabited
islet 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) south of Malta, and is the most southerly
purpose of the Maltese Archipelago. It plays host to an endemic type of reptile
not discovered anyplace else on the planet. Indeed the reptile species, which
is depicted as vast green with somewhat blue spots is really a subspecies of
the one found on the Maltese islands however contrasts enough to meet all
requirements for a different subspecies title, the Filfla reptile.
Incredibly, the islet supports one of the biggest known
colonies on the planet, five to eight thousand sets, of the European Storm
Petrel, Hydrobates pelagicus melitensis, coined Kangu ta’ Filfla. It also has a
vast settling populace of shearwaters and yellow legged gulls. The splits in
the stone and the spaces in the rock made by the once on-going bombardment appear
to assume a critical part in Filfla’s allure as a bird’s colony. The islet
holds garigue vegetation together as well as types of goliath leek. Dry amid
the late spring months, the surface turns into an exceptionally lavish green in
winter. An endemic type of snail has additionally been recorded.
Access to Filfla is only permitted for educational or scientific
purposes and guests must get authorization from the Malta Environment and
St Paul’s Island is a little island off Selmun close to the
north-east of the island of Malta. St Paul’s Island is split into two islands
both made up of upper coralline limestone by a shallow isthmus. St Paul’s
Island has been uninhabited since World War II, and it is the second biggest
uninhabited island of Malta, having a region of 0.1 square kilometres.
The island is overwhelmed by Golden samphire, Maltese
fleabane and other species. Quartz Island has less vegetation than the primary
island due to the fact that is more exposed to the elements.
The land snail Trochoidea spratti can be found on the
islands. Wild rabbits also use to inhabit the island however the populace
ceased to exist due to disease. A subspecies of the Maltese wall lizard known as Podarcis filfolensis kieselbachi
additionally lived there yet the populace
ended up wiped out in 2005.
As of late a exercise to eliminate rodents destruction was
done on these islands, as rats were nourishing on the vegetation of the islands
and influencing the reptile populace.
these islands where utilized for farming purposes, however they have since become
a nature reserve. Civilians are still allowed on the island however activities
are restricted to swimming, berthing of boats and walking along the footpaths.
G?ar Dalam’s importance as an ancient site was
found in the last half of the nineteenth Century with the unearthing’s of animal
bones, human remains and relics. For the purpose of Palaeontology, archaeology
and ecology the site is a wealth of information.
Dalam is part of the Natura 2000 due to endemic surrender woodlouse
(Armadillidium ghardalamensis) and a breathing site for the Lesser Horse-shoe Bat
One of the rarest and most vulnerable spaces in the
Maltese island are the Sand dunes. Sandy shorelines make up just around 2.4 of
Malta and Gozo’s coastline. Initially rare to begin with they have come under
increasing pressure from the large volume of tourist and their activities.
Despite all this some sand dunes are still thriving to this day as a result of
their ability to adapt.
sand dune for the Maltese island is found in Gozo. Ramla il-Hamra Bay is truly
impressive due the profundity of the ochre of the sand. The dunes at Ramla are
almost perfectly preserved. They play home to a wealth of fauna and vegetation.
Bay, there are also other dunes. white sea daffodils, grow against all odds it
this part of the island. It is therefore why the proper management and
protection of this area is a must.
In Wied il-Luq in Siggiewi ones finds Buskett. It is one of
a handful of forest territories in Malta. The Verdala
Palace, an official home of the President of Malta, lies on the edge of the
The gardens support a large
number of birds. This has prompted Bird Life to recognise the zone as an
Important Bird Area (IBA).
From a historical,
ecological, economical, educational, and a scientific stand point Buskett is of
There are number of
legislations protecting Buskett with the first legal protection dating back to
1932. Today Buskett is still protected under the current Conservation of Wild
Birds Regulations. In the gardens we also find historical antique tree of great
importance these have been protected since 1933. The planning authority
scheduled Buskett as an Area of Ecological Importance, a Site of Scientific
Importance, an area of high landscape value and a scheduled woodland in 1996. In 2003 the legislature proposed Buskett as a
Site of Community Interest through Legal Notice 23 of 2003, with the principle principle
being that Buskett be proclaimed a Special Area of Conservation under the EU
Habitats Directive which led it to eventually form part of the EU Natura 2000.
In Qrendi a deep, enormous
inland collapsed solution structure, caused by the disintegration of limestone
followed by cavern collapse, lies called il -Maqluba. It is a form a doline. The
doline bed withholds a dense laurel matorral.
native species, the bay laural tress, dominate the matorral. This species
although native, is locally scarce with a restricted distribution in the
Maltese islands. The Maltese national tree, the sandarac gum and the Maltese
salt tree are some of the tress that also dwell in the area.
They are a
number of important species that dwell at Il-Maqluba, including invertebrates,
macro-fungi and myxomycetes. Most of the species are solely found in this area
or have a restricted distribution in the Maltese islands.
a number of laws protected this area. Il-Maqluba is a site of Ecological
Importance; a Site of Scientific Importance; a Nature Reserve and a Special
Area of Conservation of International Importance. This is site is also
protected by Mepa when it declared it as a Tree Protected Area, in accordance
with the provisions of the Trees and Woodlands Protection Regulations.
In the Burmarrad
valley lies the biggest remaining coastal marshes on the Maltese islands known
as “Is-Salini”. The area which consist of 154,000
square meters of saline marshland was initially a harbour. During the history of the
production of salt in the Maltese islands Salini plays a vital role in the
history of salt production in Malta. This zone is home to a variety of rare environments
and species, including territories based on rushes and tamarisk groves.
Tas-Sokkorsu which is the canal passing
through the salt panes holds the Maltese Killifish which is known to be the
only brackish water fish endemic to Malta. The Maltese kill fish is only found
in 2 other habitats. The sites has also draw various other species over time
primely demonstrated by birds landing in the salt pans to rest amid movement,
among which the flamingo. This has led to thee side being entrusted to bird
life for better land management.
The site with EU
subsidizes under the Agricultural Fund for Rural Development has as of late
been restored. Salina is a Natura 2000 site because of the endemic vegetation which can be found
in the zone.
One the island of gozo one finds a UNESCO World Heritage Sites The Cittadella. The area is made up of a of a medieval castle and an early modern gunpowder fortress. The area is important
for its architectural, cultural and rich history. It is also home to a number
of species which gives it great ecological value.
I?-?ittadella is constructed with local limestone. It is therefore no
surprise that it provides similar habitats as coastal fissures in limestone.
The endemic Maltese salt tress and other endemic plants such as the Maltese
toadflax and the golden mayweed are found in the crevices of the footpaths. Bats
and endemic species, such as the Maltese wall lizard and the Despott’s top
snail, are also found at i?-?ittadella.
This Natura 2000 site will be subject to the preparation of a management
plan and/or legislation in the near future, as part of an EU-funded project
that Mepa is undertaking for the management planning all the terrestrial Natura
2000 sites of the Maltese islands.
a number of protected land across the island. However, we still need serious
plans for the management of protected sites that ensure the sustainable
management of natural resources in these protected areas with the full
involvement of all stakeholders. Overcrowding in these sites can lead to
damage. Congestion can definitely reduce the natural value of these places and
can reduce the ecological functions and values ??on these sites. The economic
aspects require a serious study to tackle any damage that the market itself can
cause. A balance needs to be struck between the economic potential and the
possible negative impact. We need strategies to reduce conflicts between
recreation and conservation and to ensure a balance between the economic
benefits and the natural values ??of these areas.