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University of Malta (2012)

A comparative study of afforestation strategies in Mediterranean islands

Attard, David

Titre : A comparative study of afforestation strategies in Mediterranean islands

Auteur : Attard, David

Université de soutenance : University of Malta

Grade : Master of Arts Islands and Small States Studies 2012

Afforestation and reforestation are implemented in various countries around the Mediterranean for various reasons including economic (wood production), social (recreational activities, traditions, etc.) and environmental (conservation of forest biodiversity and combating desertification) objectives. The aridity of the Mediterranean, anthropogenic effects and the severe unpredictable storms typical of the region has often led to soil erosion and in extreme cases desertification. This study focused on afforestation strategies as implemented in five Mediterranean islands, namely Menorca, Corsica, Sardinia, the Maltese archipelago, and Cyprus. A number of aspects were analysed, including reasons for conducting afforestation projects ; the type of tree species used in such projects ; the effects of afforestation in controlling desertification ; the techniques used for establishing trees in arid environments typical of the Mediterranean and whether afforestation projects are ultimately reaching their set goals. A comparative assessment was thus conducted to compare the afforestation strategies adopted in these five Mediterranean islands. Data used in this assessment was obtained through emailed surveys as well as through published data. Comparative data analysis was carried out and results showed that afforestation efforts in five Mediterranean Islands are implemented for three main purposes, namely forest species conservation, habitat restoration and to combat the impacts of desertification. Forest fires have been shown to be a continuous threat to insular forests. However existing data shows that Mediterranean forests are capable of regenerating following forest fires. Pine trees are often the species most used in afforestation projects. Soil preparation methodologies as applied in the islands under study, as well as the criteria for success are also discussed. Recommendations for the implementation of successful afforestation strategies for the Maltese Islands, including the application of mechanised terracing and soil preparations, are also provided. Finally the study also focuses on the suitable 18 characteristics of the Sandarac Gum tree (Tetraclinis articulata), which is very drought tolerant, as a species which can be used in wide-scale afforestation endeavours. The need for further studies aimed at increasing forested areas in Malta, as well as the establishment of local forestry standards, is also highlighted

Présentation (OAR@UM)

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