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June 2017

Combating forest fires in the FKNK hunting reserves of Arax and Miżieb, Malta

This month, the Biodiversity Manifesto Project of the Month focuses in on the efforts of Maltese hunters and trappers who manage the Federation for Hunting & Conservation – Malta (FKNK) Hunting Reserves of Aħrax and Miżieb in order to combat forest fires and to encourage biodiversity.

Since 1984 an average of 750 hunters and trappers, members of the FKNK (Malta’s FACE Members of 30 years) participate in cleaning, planting and pruning of indigenous trees in the Hunting Reserves of Aħrax and Miżieb, which are located in the Maltese islands northern region of Mellieħa.

The exact purpose of these actions is two-fold: the cleaning of debris and other material left by picnickers (picnic areas are available within the Hunting Reserves for the general public use) prevents the spread of fire since one of the main elements without which a fire cannot happen, combustive material, is removed; and on the other hand, the planting and pruning of trees is to make the place more attractive for game-birds, but also more appealing for all other wild species, thus encouraging biodiversity.

Every year, the Federation’s members clean out the vegetation that interferes with the undergrowth and makes it impossible to reach the layers of scrubland.  Thousands of trees are planted and then pruned and cleared. Information panels as well as barriers are installed, all for the cause of forest fire prevention and the fight against waste dumping. The FKNK members conduct management of the scrubs and trees areas by cleaning out of the scrubs vegetation, planting, pruning and clearing of trees. To these, the fire hazards panels have been added and a fire brigade is now available nearby.

The results are clear: today, the two areas mentioned can be considered as “environmentally improved” zones. This benefits not only hunters and trappers during the open season, but also the general public, that, during the closed seasons, can picnic in specially converted areas, besides enjoy other recreational activities with the Reserves.

Contact and sources:

http://www.huntinginmalta.org.mt

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