LIFE Project : Saving Buskett

This outing which was held on the 15th of February was done with two main aims: to learn more about our culture and to use this information as part of our LEAF project, which is based on the Maltese Traditional Wall known as ‘Il-Ħajt tas-Sejjieħ’.

On this outing, my friends and I which represented St Michael School of Santa Venera under the guidance of our teacher Mr Joseph Savona. Mr Ebejer, who was our instructor, led us around Buskett and shared many interesting things with us.

St Michael School Saving BuskettBuskett is a small woodland with an area of 473,694.50m² located in the South Western coast of Malta. This was mostly build by the Order of St John. Buskett is a very special site which serves as a good habitat for the migration of birds.

A popular habitat in Buskett is the ‘maquis’ which refers to the habitat between the cliffs and the valleys. In this site one finds a variety of both endemic and rare species. Buskett is the only example of a semi-natural woodland in the Maltese Islands. In this woodland, one finds historical sites of different periods. For example the Punic Catacombs, the Verdala Palace, curt ruts of the Bronze Age and Hunting Lodges.

The Project

Our project revolves around rubble walls. These were built with 2 aims: to serve as a boundary to separate one field from another and to serve as a filter which lets water pass but holds the soil. The latter is incredibly important because if plants grew in there and the fields hold water, the plants won’t grow because of too much water.

 The problems which these walls are facing nowadays are that they are collapsing. This is mainly due to age and even because of the roots of certain trees which break the format of the wall. Soil from the fields is being lost Saving Buskett St Michaeland this is not only a waste but it is also trickling down into the valleys and thus blocking the way of the water in this woodland. The European Union invested €4 million for this project.

A government worker gave us a lot of useful information about the Rubble walls, saying that rubble walls were built curved so that when a part collapses only that part falls and not the whole wall. The wall is built by large rocks on the inside and on the outside with small rocks in the middle. In Maltese, the rocks in the middle are called ‘mazkan’.

Currently, workers are endeavouring to rebuild or arrange all the Rubble Walls in Buskett so that we do not lose them. They are also removing aliens species which are competing with native species.

I suggest people of all ages to visit this site and learn more about this Maltese heritage. It not only enhances one’s knowledge but also makes us proud of such a beautiful Maltese landscape.

                                                                                                                                       Emerson Gatt