Press Statement

Our Natural Environment is under rape

Nature Trust is deeply appalled by this criminal act on our natural heritage where a protected species of indigenous tree, the Silvery-leaved Poplar, Populus abla, Sigar tal-Luq was ringed thus causing this magnificent tree to die.

These species of tree is one of the very few strictly riparian (valley-bed based flora) trees, other rare species being the Narrow-leaved Ash, Narrow-leaved Elm, and the two species of Willows, the Mediterranean and White Willows. The Silvery-leaved Poplar does not occur in every valley in the Maltese islands, occurring mainly along narrows strips in the south central and centre of the island, and in one valley in Gozo. To make things more challenging for this species locally, practically all trees of this species in Malta are male, so they can only reproduce vegetative via their roots, and they need space and free soil to do so. Poplars are deciduous species, they shed their leaves in winter, so they provide shade in summer, and allow enough sunlight to enter the surrounding environment in winter. Due to its scarcity and restricted habitat, the Silvery-leaved Poplar is listed in Schedule I of the Malta Tree Regulation LN200 of 2011.

Nature Trust urges that whoever has any information related to this incident to report to the authorities. It is about time our natural environment is given the importance it deserves by governments and national authorities. Despite existing legislation very little is done to preserve the few remaining areas our Islands have. It is time our politician set up the long promised Environment Police or wardens to patrol our natural sites and apprehend environmental terrorists who enjoy destroying anything that is of ecological value

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