39. Foresta 2000

Foresta 2000, on the western slope of Marfa ridge, was BirdLife's millennium project, conceived in 1996. It was originally intended to be a swathe of forest with 2000 oaks, but the idea evolved from a simple oak plantation into the regeneration of a stretch of Mediterranean forest with various native flora and habitats ranging from woodland to maquis and garrigue to clay steppe.
In this way BirdLife hoped to give back to nature a mosaic of natural habitats that have been largely lost from the Maltese countryside, especially woodland. Planting of trees, shrubs and grasses began in 2002, by which time BirdLife had also drawn Din l-Art Helwa and PARK into the venture.
By spring of this year about 12,000 saplings were already growing vigorously under the care of the forest ranger. Species include aleppo pines, lentisk, holm oak, araar, buckthorn, tamarisk and other species. The huge setback suffered in early May when vandals destroyed 3000 trees was a blow, but it will not dampen our resolve to give a forest to future generations.
Donations to Foresta 2000 may be sent to BirdLife Malta, 57/28 Triq Abate Rigord, Ta' Xbiex XBX 1120 or deposited directly into APS Bank account number 20000166561.   

Text and photo by Victor Falzon.

Copyright to Birdlife Malta.

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