Start date: 15 February 2021
Closing date: 29 March 2021
Title of the public consultation: Intent and Objectives: National Trees and Woodlands Strategy and Action Plan 2022-2030
Ministry: Ministry for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning
Entity: Environment and Resources Authority
In terms of Article 51 of the Environment Protection Act (Cap. 549), it is duly notified that the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) is preparing the ‘National Trees and Woodlands Strategy and Action Plan 2022-2030’.
Despite their small terrestrial area, the Maltese Islands harbour exceptional tree and woodland biodiversity, of which 60 or more tree and large shrub species that are considered native and/or archaeophytic. Out of these, however, more than half are rare or endangered.
In addition, various non-native species have also been introduced since antiquity for purposes of horticulture, cultivation for food or as ornamental features in gardens.
Concrete measures and actions to prevent loss of tree diversity in the Maltese Islands are of crucial importance in view of the current increasing pressures and demands associated with a growing economy and a rapid increment in population, which leads to a larger human footprint on the environment due to increasing infrastructural needs, such as the development of more land area and a heavier demand for natural resources.
In this regard, the intent of this document will be to adopt a national strategy that also incorporates an action plan implementing it. Such national strategic document will include targets and measures to be implemented over a nine-year period, with the scope of ensuring the establishment of effective and direct actions to address the ever-growing pressures and threats affecting Maltese trees and woodlands, promoting the increase of these through science-based forestation and restoration approaches.
The main intent of the National Trees and Woodlands Strategy and Action Plan is to serve as a national policy driver to promote trees and woodlands and further integrate forestation and restoration concerns into the plans, programmes and policies of related sectors in Malta.
It is recognised that the management of trees and woodlands is a long-term activity capable of providing a range of social, economic, and environmental benefits, whilst also contributing significantly towards mitigating the effects of climate change.
This Strategy and Action Plan shall also aim at improving the status of tree and woodland species and their genetic diversity by reducing various direct and indirect pressures and threats affecting their range and distribution, and hence their future prospects.
The following objectives have been proposed for this Strategy and Action Plan, on the basis of earlier assessments. These include the following:
- act as a tool in recognising and identifying gaps or key issues that still need to be addressed, or are not being implemented fully, including pressures and threats, with respect to trees and woodlands;
- promote and improve streamlined environmental data collection and status assessment related to trees and woodlands;
- further strengthen and expand on the trees and woodlands inventory established under the Trees and Woodlands Protection Regulations;
- establish and implement key national targets leading to forestation and restoration processes in the Maltese Islands, including the development of a simplified system to scientifically identify forestation and restoration sites, keeping in mind various parameters linked with such processes, ranging from, amongst others, exposure, soil, water supply, geomorphology, ownership and habitat types;
- improve management measures and tools in relation to aspects linked with trees and woodland conservation and management, including measures targeting climate change adaptation and mitigation;
- improve the status of Maltese tree and woodland species and their genetic diversity, through in situ conservation measures and the setting up of a coordinated system of nurseries to ensure an adequate stock of local tree genetic resources;
- assist in the implementation of actions favouring green infrastructure and recreational areas linked with trees and woodlands, also acting as a means of adaptation and mitigation to climate change issues;
- develop additional, or review current, policies relevant to trees and woodlands, including aspects pertaining to assessments, permitting, compliance and enforcement, and address relevant implementation structures;
- promote effective outreach and training through community action and citizen science on Maltese and Mediterranean trees and woodlands; and
- assess current processes, set potential targets and consider incentives favouring the achievement of pertinent measures regarding trees and woodlands.
The Authority wishes to have extensive feedback on the above intent and objectives, as well as any other related issues linked with these aspects you feel as duly relevant or of attention.
Moreover, the follow key questions are also being put forward as part of this consultation:
- Can the objectives be further refined, keeping in mind the intent of this strategy and action plan?
- Should there be additional objectives and linkages not identified above?
- Which actions would you consider as priorities?
- How would you assist in the development and implementation of such strategy and action plan?
- Do you have any further feedback or comments on the intent or objectives of this strategy and action plan?
- Submission of feedback
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Further notes:
Please be informed that comments submitted, together with the identity of the contributor, may be published online at the end of the public consultation, unless the contributor objects to the publication of his/her personal data. In this case, the contribution may be published in anonymous form.
All comments submitted shall be duly considered.
The draft National Trees and Woodlands Strategy and Action Plan 2022-2030 will be available for public consultation in due course at the following web link: https://era.org.mt/consultation-on-legislation-and-policy