Natura 2000 Management
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Natura 2000 Management

What are Natura 2000 sites?

Natura 2000 sites originate from the Birds Directive (Directive 2009/147/EC) and the Habitats Directive (Directive 92/43/EEC). They are a network of core breeding and resting sites for rare and threatened species, and some rare natural habitat types which are protected for their intrinsic value. The network stretches over 18% of the European Union’s land area and more than 8% of its marine territory. 

Currently, in the Maltese Islands there are 34 terrestrial and 18 marine sites that form part of the Natura 2000 network. 

Terrestrial Sites

As the implementational arm of the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA), AM is responsible for the execution of the Management Plans for Terrestrial Natura 2000 Sites in Malta and Gozo . This entails the carrying out Management Objectives and Operational Objectives identified in said Management Plans. Such objectives vary from one site to another and may include the implementation of invasive and/or alien plant eradication programmes, site patrolling, restoration and/or expansion of habitats listed in the Habitats Directive,  measures to prevent trampling, installation of surveillance systems, monitoring of fauna, amongst others. 

Management Agreements

AM together with the MECP and ERA have a number of management agreements in place with local eNGOs for the management of various Natura 2000 sites. Through these agreements, eNGOs are provided annual funding to implement conservation measures in line with the Management Plans for Terrestrial Natura 2000 Sites in Malta and Gozo. 

AM provides funding for the following management agreements:
  • Xrobb il-Għaġin
  • Għajn Tuffieħa
  • Ramla l-Ħamra
  • Għadira
  • Simar
  • Majjistral Park
  • Salini

Marine Protected Areas

The implementation of conservation objectives and measures for Malta’s marine Natura 2000 sites  was added to AM’s portfolio in January 2021. AM will be coordinating with local NGOs and public entities involved in marine areas to implement a number of management measures in marine protected areas. Planned activities include annual underwater and coastal marine clean-ups, installation of informative signs and pilot projects aimed at restoring endangered and degraded benthic habitats. 

Environmental Rangers

The Environmental Rangers (E-Rangers) project was first launched in November 2020. The main role of the E-Rangers is to raise environmental awareness and ensure that the general public respects the rural environment. The E-Rangers work closely with local communities and interact with the public during frequent patrols and visits in protected areas including Natura 2000 sites. 

Ambjent Malta’s Environmental Rangers’ official emblem 

​ The Environmental Rangers responsibilities include:
  • Raising environmental awareness through interaction with the public;
  • Patrolling Terrestrial Natura 2000 sites; other protected and scheduled areas; and public ODZ;
  • Sensitizing visitors on rules and regulations pertaining to the sites;
  • Conducting informational programmes and educate the public on a variety of conservation issues;
  • Reporting illegal activities in protected and rural areas;
  • Monitoring plant growth and habitat restoration efforts carried out by AM;
  • Providing first assistance when encountering protected injured wildlife and coordinate with the relevant entities such as the Animal Welfare Department and competent eNGOs;
  • Reporting of fire hazards; and
  • Collecting environmental geographic data (e.g. location of invasive and non-native plants, illegal activities, land-use, amongst others).

 Environmental Ranger coordinating the installation of informative signs in Natura 2000 site.

Environmental  Ranger dismantling illegal makeshift stone BBQs