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Buskett Woodland

 
The P.A.R.K. Directorate was entrusted with the task maintain, restore and indeed, rehabilitate the Buskett Woodlands, safeguarding thus this national treasure left to us by our forefathers. 
 
 
 
 
Buskett, which is by and large owned by the Malta Government, has a total area of circa 473,694.50 m² (47Hectares). It is a small woodland area inland located in the Western / South Western coast of Malta.  It is also of special importance as a site of ecological and nature conservation owing to it being the only example of a semi-natural woodland in the Maltese Islands possessing a variety of endemic and rare species needing protection. 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
Integrated within the precincts of Buskett are also areas of archaeological and historical interest. These include: Punic Catacombs, Bronze Age Cart Ruts in the limestone garigue, underground Flour Mills and a Hunting Lodge commissioned by the Grandmaster Jean De Valette (1557-1595.) This site is also considered as a special site of ecological and nature conservation importance, possessing a variety of protected endemic and rare species. It is designated as a Natura 2000 Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Special Protected Area (SPA)
 
 
Habitats Found at Buskett
Buskett is split by a natural valley which contains well maintained Citrus plantations. Further up one side of the valley slope consists of uncultivated, terraced fields, maquis and at the top of the slope, stands the woodland part of the site, dominated by Oak, Carob, Olive and Aleppo pine trees. On the opposite side is a garigue plateau providing microhabitats in the natural dips, in the limestone which house a variety of floral species, including the wild thyme, rare bulb and several orchid species. The deciduous woodland at Buskett is made up mainly of White Poplar, Ash and Elm. There are also a number of Holm Oak, Olive and Carob trees. 
 
 
 
 
  
Species of Special Importance that are found in this Woodland
  • Narrow leaved Ash – the only wild population of this species on the island.
  • Bay Laurel thickets, Holm Oak remnants, Mediterranean temporary ponds, Sicilian Aleppo Pine woodland and Populus alba galleries – EU Habitat Directive habitat types requiring special protection and management.
  • White Willow – used to exist in the area until it was eradicated due to anthropogenic impacts.
  • Fungus species, Sarcosphaera coronaria, recorded in the EU Habitats Directive (Annex IV.)
  • Painted frog, the only endemic subspecies amphibian found in the Maltese islands lives year round in the watercourses at Buskett.
  • Raptors – many bird species depend on Buskett as an area for migration and it has been designated as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International.
 
Actions undertaken by PARK Directorate (MSDEC)
  • Life+ Nature project for the value of €2.8 million to restore and consolidate existing rubble retaining walls thus reducing occurring severe soil erosion. Restoration of the existing arched buttress water culvert, restoration of existing paths to serve as nature walks plus the eradication of alien tree species and the replanting of circa 3,000 indigenous trees.
  • Restoration of a fourth historic farmhouse (Razzett tal-Ghorof) funded by the Italia – Malta 2007 -2 013 funding programme. This farmhouse is going to be mainly used as an educational centre as an Oenology and vine cultivation informative centre and as a learning place re good agricultural practices.
  • We also prepared a Master plan forming a holistic program of works for Buskett Woodland and therefore the phasing of respective activities/works. In this regard, PARK organised a number of meetings with MEPA to determine all application processes involved to execute fundamental works. Works will mainly include the upgrading and changing of all existing obsolete furniture, refurbishment and restructuring of the existing public convenience, restoration and upgrading of the existing picnic area, creation of a new picnic area, a tree regeneration program, plus the restoration of all existing water cisterns and reservoirs.
  • Day to day management of Buskett Woodland which includes rubbish collecting, site surveillance, general maintenance works such as the repair of existing timber gates / garden furniture repairs, repairs to existing lamp posts.
  • Restoration and rebuilding of collapsed rubble retaining walls in various locations at Buskett.
  • Liaison with  ERA and PA obtaining all necessary permits to cut dead and semi-collapsed trees. Presently all pruned trees are partially carted away from Buskett, however the larger parts of tree trunks are left on site to decompose naturally. ​