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LIFE+ Life Saving Buskett: Ecological restoration of valley watercourse and other habitats at Buskett

: Malta
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: The Buskett-Girgenti Natura 2000 site, Siġġiewi
|
: 1998 ha
|
: 8581
: 2015
|
: 3 years
: Complete
|
: No
|
: Ambjent Malta
: 35.8556
|
: 14.4364
Increased infiltration, water retention and flood protection
Yes, natural regulation of floods and storms via natural retention and absorption capabilities of vegetation and soil. The retaining walls and arched buttresses along the watercourse were repaired, restored and/or rebuilt. Such soil stabilisation measure, apart from consolidating the definition of the watercourse itself will reduce the deposition and sedimentation of soil and debris on the watercourse coming down from the valley sides. The introduction of soil stabilisation measures which include repairing, restoring/rebuilding retaining walls along the watercourse (not included in Action above) and those that support the substratum on the valley sides. Other soil stabilisation measures, such as the placing of geo-textile material, mulches over exposed areas, and dead wood to serve as obstruction structures were also put in place. The action at the upper sides of the valley will complement the interventions along the watercourse since the down slope movement of soil and debris is checked at various levels on the sides of the valley. Selective removal of silt and boulders from parts of the watercourse that are affecting negatively the targeted habitats. (Life Saving Buskett, 2018).
Improved air quality
Yes, tree and woodland cover was associated with air quality improvement ecosystem services (Balzan et al., 2018).
Reduced drought risk, cooling effect, urban heat island mitigation
Yes, parks with vegetation, especially trees, can reduce the urban heat island in the park as well as the area surrounding the park, sometimes for a distance as great as the diameter of the park (Nowak, Heisler, 2010).
Biodiversity conservation or increased biodiversity
Yes, through the removal of invasive alien plants (Ailanthus altissima, Vitis spp., Agave spp. and Ricinus communis) and restoration of degraded habitats which are expected to lead to an improvement in biodiveristy conservation (Life Saving Buskett, 2018).
Increased quality and quantity of green and blue infrastructures
Yes, through the restoration of habitats and the removal of alien species (Life Saving Buskett, 2018).
Drought and heat risk
The Mediterranean Region is considered as a "hot-spot" of climate change, having been identified in global climate scenarios as one of the most responsive regions to climate change (Lionello and Scarascia, 2018). There is a consensus in scientific literature that average temperatures will rise across most of the Mediterranean Region, and that precipitation will decrease (Ulbrich et al. 2013; Lionello and Scarascia, 2018). Observed annual mean temperatures in the Mediterranean Region are now 1.4 °C higher than the average late-nineteenth-century levels particularly during the summer months (Cramer et al., 2018).
Loss of biodiversity
Yes, habitats within the Buskett protected area are under a number of pressures and threats arising from soil erosion, invasive species, intensive agricultural practices, unregulated visitor access and overexploitation of species (ERA, 2013).
Ecosystem degradation
Yes, habitats within the Buskett protected area are under a number of pressures and threats arising from soil erosion, invasive species, intensive agricultural practices, unregulated visitor access and overexploitation of species (ERA, 2013).
Limited knowledge about biodiversity
The Malta National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) reports that the results of the Eurobarometer Surveys on Attitudes of Europeans towards Biodiversity in 2007 and 2010 indicate that 14.4% and 18% respectively of Maltese respondents had heard of the term “biodiversity” and knew what it meant. A survey commissioned by MEPA in 2011 indicates that out of the 500 persons interviewed, 24.6% of Maltese respondents heard of the term “biodiversity” and knew what it meant. In general there is a need to continue enhancing biodiversity awareness and gain more knowledge on the meaning of ‘biodiversity’ (ERA, 2018d).
Terrestrial biodiversity (SDG15)
Yes, this project has led to the protection of habitats of conservation value at Buskett and included afforestation using indigenous shrubs (>1600 shrubs) (Life Saving Buskett, 2018).