Urgent need of an urban tree management plan
Alfred E. Baldacchino
Following the return to the mismanagement of urban trees, resulting in a waste of resources, and negative social and ecological impacts, the Tree Group of the FAA (Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar) has called a press conference at Naxxar where three 50 year-old protected Ficus nitida trees have been killed by toxic chemicals. This method seems to be on the increase in eliminating established urban trees which the Department of Agriculture was responsible for under Legal Notice 12 of 2011, the Trees and Woodlands (Protection) Regulations, 2001, but which the Department of Agriculture shed all such responsibilites following the new Legal Notice 200 of 2011, the Trees and Woodlands Protection Regulations, 2011.
Such a method of eliminating trees seems to be accepted and used also on Governemnt projects, such as the one at the Mdina Ditch, were an established Cypress Tree was also subjected to such methods (see photo).
The present scenario is that there is no public entity accountable and responsible for the management of urban trees, unless these are listed in the L.N. 200 of 2011.
The aim of the FAA Tree Group was to highlight such a fact and to draw the attention of the Government for the crying need of a professional management plan, and a Regulator to ensure the monitoring, enforcement and CEPA (Communication, Eduction and Public Awareness) on trees which have such an important social, ecological and economic value.
The following is the Press Release issued by the FAA Tree Gourp during such a press conference.
TREE BUTCHERING CONTINUES
Unfortunately despite constructive criticism, from individuals, NGOs and the media, the butchering of trees goes on and on. The FAA Tree Group would like to draw the new Government’s attention to this waste of resources which is having negative impacts on communities and the environment at large and is only benefiting a handful of individuals.
The FAA Tree Group would like to suggest that to control such vandalism and increase the appreciation of trees, Government considers implementing the following:
a) The drawing up of a management plan for all urban trees to be drawn up by all interested stake- holders whether voluntary or commercial;
b) The reinstatement of the protection of urban trees which was revoked by the previous Minister responsible for the sector;
c) The appointment of a regulator to formulate the policy and see that it is adhered to, and to monitor and check irregularities;
d) The registration of all qualified landscapers/tree pruners who can then be regarded as the competent operators to implement the policy;
e) Ensuring that urban trees are no longer regarded as street furniture, and that their social and ecological importance is taken in consideration when it comes to management.
f) Maximisation of public funds by setting up local nurseries to supply indigenous trees for local consumption for such landscaping.
g) The setting up of an ad hoc committee under the responsibility of the regulator to conduct a Communication, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA) campaign on trees and their social, ecological and economic benefits.
FAA Tree Group will be willing to form part of this set-up and to contribute to an educational campaign in the national interest for the benefit of biodiversity, in this case trees.
27 March, 2013.
FAA Tree Group.