Management plans for Nadur’s Natura 2000 sites nearing completion

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Management plans for Nadur's Natura 2000 sites nearing completionEpsilon International SA of Greece and Maltese company Adi Associates Environmental Consultants Ltd were contracted by MEPA in 2012 to prepare management plans for all 34 terrestrial Natura 2000 sites in the Maltese Islands, in a project is part financed by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

There are two Natura 2000 sites in Nadur: L-Inhawi tar-Ramla and Il-Qortin tal Magun u l-Qortin il-Kbir. The draft Management Plans for these sites are nearing completion and will shortly be submitted to MEPA.

The management plans have been formulated following a comprehensive conservation assessment of the sites and have been informed by extensive consultations with stakeholders and the general public carried out over summer 2013.

Natura 2000 is the EU-wide network of nature conservation areas, established to ensure the survival of Europe’s most valuable species and habitats for future generations. The network is based on the broad principle of conservation and sustainable use, where people and wildlife can live together in harmony.

It is the largest coherent network of protected areas in the world. The network is made up of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), important because of their habitats, and Special Protection Areas (SPA),which are important bird sites.

The Natura 2000 network in the Maltese Islands covers approximately 13.5% (around 42km2) of the total land area. A total of 30 management plans are being prepared, covering the 34 sites.

L-Inhawi tar-Ramla contains one of the most important sand dune communities in the Maltese Islands. The site supports a diverse range of endemic flora and fauna and is very important for sand-associated invertebrates, many with a restricted distribution or which are only known from Ir-Ramla, including the Sand Cricket.

The site is also the only known locality in the Maltese Islands for the endemic and critically endangered darkling beetle species.

lI-Qortin tal-Magun u il-Qortin il-Kbir is a garrigue habitat of significant ecological importance; the site supports an exceptional mature phrygana habitat considered to be possibly the best example of such a habitat in the Maltese Islands. Important plant species include the Shrubby Kidney Vetch, the Tree Spurge and Wild Thyme.

Persons interested in Natura 2000 and the project are invited to view the website (www.natura2000malta.com) and follow on Facebook (www.facebook.com/natura2000malta) and Twitter (@natura2000malta).

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