Scarce and limited habitat restored at Għadira Nature Reserve

November 5, 2020 6:54 am

BirdLife Malta has recently completed works on one of the management objectives for Għadira Nature Reserve, namely the restoration of the sand dune habitat on site. The project was inaugurated earlier this week at an event held at the reserve in the presence of officials from the Farsons Foundation, who bought into our vision and provided financial assistance which made this project possible.

BirdLife Malta officials host the Farsons Foundation at Għadira Nature Reserve (Photos by Katarzyna Pacon)

Sand dune rehabilitation project made possible thanks to generous sponsorship by the Farsons Foundation

Prior to the building of the main road leading to Ċirkewwa, Għadira Bay boasted sand dunes similar to those which can be found today at Ramla l-Ħamra in Gozo. Unfortunately, in the 1970s, the parts of these dunes which ended up cut off from the beach as a result of the construction of the road were heavily planted with non-indigenous tree species.

BirdLife Malta had long identified the restoration of this habitat as one of the tasks on hand in managing the nature reserve, especially in view of the presence of the Burrowing Sand Cricket which, due to its status, enjoys added protection even at European level. This species is extremely rare, with numbers decreasing as a result of habitat loss.

This restoration project had started off slowly through the removal of the non-indigenous trees, but last year – thanks to the Farsons Foundation who financed most of the works through a generous sponsorship – the dream became reality since works were duly concluded. As part of the project a boardwalk was designed and installed to grant visitors, including school children, access to the area which will undoubtedly raise the right awareness about this scarce and limited habitat in the Maltese Islands. 

(From left to right) David Attard, Alice Sicoli, Mark Gauci and Mark Sultana from BirdLife Malta; Arthur Muscat, Antoinette Caruana, Kenneth Pullicino from the Farsons Foundation

BirdLife Malta Nature Reserves Manager Mark Gauci stated: “We are proud to have been responsible for this habitat restoration and are grateful to the Farsons Foundation whose financial assistance has made finalising this project possible. This is a perfect example of how collaboration between the private sector and NGOs can contribute towards improving the natural habitats of the Maltese Islands. In this particular case, such a partnership has today resulted in another small swathe of nature being given back to the community and to be enjoyed by future generations.”

Arthur Muscat from the Farsons Foundation, said: “We are very impressed with the professionalism displayed by BirdLife Malta, both in the choice of the project and in its execution. Apart from the worthwhile endeavour to restore a nature site, one has also to praise the other objective of making the site more accessible to visitors, old and young. Cultivating a commitment to protect our environment is an ongoing task. Educating the public in favour of birds, nature and the environment is a noble initiative and the efforts of BirdLife Malta in this regard need to be praised and publicised.”

Members of the general public can now enjoy this unique sand dune habitat when they visit Għadira Nature Reserve which is open on Mondays and Thursdays between 2pm and 6pm, and on Saturdays and Sundays between 10am and 4pm. Entrance to the reserve is free of charge.

Read the Maltese version of the press release here.

The sand dune habitat restoration project at Għadira Nature Reserve