Database release:
SDF
NATURA 2000 - STANDARD DATA FORM

For Special Protection Areas (SPA),
Proposed Sites for Community Importance (pSCI),
Sites of Community Importance (SCI) and
for Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1. SITE IDENTIFICATION

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1.1 Type

B

1.2 Site code

MT0000003

1.3 Site name

Il-Ballut tal-Wardija

1.4 First Compilation date

2004-04

1.5 Update date

2012-09

1.6 Respondent:

Name/Organisation:Environment and Resources Authority
Address:  Biodiversity Unit             
Email:natura.2000@era.org.mt
Date site proposed as SCI:2004-04
Date site confirmed as SCI:2008-03
Date site designated as SAC: No data
National legal reference of SAC designation: No data

2. SITE LOCATION

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2.1 Site-centre location [decimal degrees]:

Longitude:14.385600
Latitude:35.939400

2.2 Area [ha]

20.3700

2.3 Marine area [%]

0.0000

2.4 Sitelength [km]:

0.00

2.5 Administrative region code and name

NUTS level 2 code Region Name
MT00Malta

2.6 Biogeographical Region(s)

Mediterranean (100.00 %)

3. ECOLOGICAL INFORMATION

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3.1 Habitat types present on the site and assessment for them

Annex I Habitat types Site assessment
Code PF NP Cover [ha] Cave [number] Data quality A|B|C|D A|B|C
      RepresentativityRelative SurfaceConservationGlobal
9340  info      1.57868  0.00 
9540  info      3.86012  0.00 
  • PF: for the habitat types that can have a non-priority as well as a priority form (6210, 7130, 9430) enter "X" in the column PF to indicate the priority form.
  • NP: in case that a habitat type no longer exists in the site enter: x (optional)
  • Cover: decimal values can be entered
  • Caves: for habitat types 8310, 8330 (caves) enter the number of caves if estimated surface is not available.
  • Data quality: G = 'Good' (e.g. based on surveys); M = 'Moderate' (e.g. based on partial data with some extrapolation); P = 'Poor' (e.g. rough estimation)

3.2 Species referred to in Article 4 of Directive 2009/147/EC and listed in Annex II of Directive 92/43/EEC and site evaluation for them

Species Population in the site Site assessment
G Code Scientific Name S NP T Size Unit Cat. D.qual. A|B|C|D A|B|C
      MinMax  Pop.Con.Iso.Glo.
P4102Anacamptis urvilleana       
  • Group: A = Amphibians, B = Birds, F = Fish, I = Invertebrates, M = Mammals, P = Plants, R = Reptiles
  • S: in case that the data on species are sensitive and therefore have to be blocked for any public access enter: yes
  • NP: in case that a species is no longer present in the site enter: x (optional)
  • Type: p = permanent, r = reproducing, c = concentration, w = wintering (for plant and non-migratory species use permanent)
  • Unit: i = individuals, p = pairs or other units according to the Standard list of population units and codes in accordance with Article 12 and 17 reporting (see reference portal)
  • Abundance categories (Cat.): C = common, R = rare, V = very rare, P = present - to fill if data are deficient (DD) or in addition to population size information
  • Data quality: G = 'Good' (e.g. based on surveys); M = 'Moderate' (e.g. based on partial data with some extrapolation); P = 'Poor' (e.g. rough estimation); VP = 'Very poor' (use this category only, if not even a rough estimation of the population size can be made, in this case the fields for population size can remain empty, but the field "Abundance categories" has to be filled in)

3.3 Other important species of flora and fauna (optional)

Species

Population in the site

Motivation

Group CODE Scientific Name S NP Size Unit Cat. Species Annex Other categories
     MinMax C|R|V|PIVVABCD
Aleurotrachelus rhamnicola               
Amanita ovoidea               
Anthaxia scutellaris               
Anthaxia thalassophila               
Arcyria minuta               
Arcyria pomiformis               
Arthonia didyma               
Asphodelus fistulosus               
Bactra furfurana               
Badhamia foliicola               
Bathytropa schembrii               
Calvatia excipuliforme               
Cantharellus cibarius               
Carlina involucrata               
Ceratonia siliqua               
Chamaeleo chamaeleon               
Chiliadenus bocconei               
Clematis cirrhosa               
Comatricha anomala               
Convolvulus tricolor               
Crataegus monogyna               
Craterium aureum               
Diderma spumarioides               
Didymium clavus               
Didymium squamulosum               
Didymodon luridus               
Discoglossus pictus pictus               
Eptesicus serotinus                 
Erica multiflora               
Eucladium verticillatum               
Eurhynchium schleicheri               
Geranium purpureum               
Glomeris distichella               
Graphina sophistica var. melitensis               
Helvella crispa               
Helvella lacunosa               
Hygrocybe ovina               
Inonotus indicus               
Juniperus phoenicea               
Lauria cylindrica               
Leconara hageni               
Leconara lentigera               
Lycogala epidendrum               
Myrtus communis               
Olea europaea               
Opegrapha lilacina               
Orobanche muteli f. melitensis               
Phaeolus schweinitzii                 
Physarum leucopus               
Physarum melleum               
Physarum nutans               
Physarum viride               
Pinus halepensis               
Pistacia lentiscus               
Podarcis filfolensis maltensis               
Porcellio obsoletus               
Punica granatum               
Quercus ilex               
Ranunculus bulbosus               
Rhamnus alaternus               
Rhipiphorus subdipterus               
Russula xerampelina               
Satureja microphylla               
Senecio bicolor               
Targionia hypophylla               
Thymus capitatus               
Tilloidea unifasciata               
Torneuma maltense               
Torneuma strictum               
Trichia lutescens               
Trichia persimilis               
Tychomorphus integer               
Urceolaria scruposa var. bryophylla               
Xerocomus chrysenteron               
  • Group: A = Amphibians, B = Birds, F = Fish, Fu = Fungi, I = Invertebrates, L = Lichens, M = Mammals, P = Plants, R = Reptiles
  • CODE: for Birds, Annex IV and V species the code as provided in the reference portal should be used in addition to the scientific name
  • S: in case that the data on species are sensitive and therefore have to be blocked for any public access enter: yes
  • NP: in case that a species is no longer present in the site enter: x (optional)
  • Unit: i = individuals, p = pairs or other units according to the standard list of population units and codes in accordance with Article 12 and 17 reporting, (see reference portal)
  • Cat.: Abundance categories: C = common, R = rare, V = very rare, P = present
  • Motivation categories: IV, V: Annex Species (Habitats Directive), A: National Red List data; B: Endemics; C: International Conventions; D: other reasons

4. SITE DESCRIPTION

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4.1 General site character

Habitat class % Cover
N061.00
N071.00
N188.00
N173.00
N1527.00
N0836.00
N2324.00

Total Habitat Cover

100

Other Site Characteristics

The area is characterised by a holm oak forest remnant dominated by Quercus ilex, Maltese: Balluta, from which the place derives its name. It supports the oldest known population of such trees, some of which are very old; of an estimated age of 500 - 900 years old, possibly older. They are amongst the oldest trees in the Maltese Islands. The forest remnant covers 8% of the area in question.A self-regenerating coniferous woodland, based on planted Aleppo pine trees, Pinus halepensis, Maltese: Znuber, is also present. Labiate garrigue or ericaceous heath dominates in other areas. Certain parts are under active cultivation.The locality benefits from a continual supply of freshwater from permanent springs in the Ghajn Astas area, especially the Ghajn Ballut spring.

4.2 Quality and importance

The area, being characterised by a very old long-establihsed holm oak forest remnant, in itself a very rare and valuable community, houses a number of threatened and endemic species. Also present are fungi, xylophilous species, saproxylic species and cryptofauna (the latter are being investigated).The forest remnant is typified by various trees, which include a number of rare, threatened and/or protected species, such as: - Quercus ilex: RDB listed, being very rare and with a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands; is mostly confined to five stations in Malta; the population at this site is the oldest and makes part of the most species diverse forest remnant in the Maltese Islands; very old trees have been declared as 'Historical Trees having an Antiquarian Importance' by Government Notice 269 of 1933 - Rhamnus alaternus: this is very rare across the islands & in fact has a restricted distribution; the site in question is one of five localities from which this species is known, but its population at this site constitutes about one third of the Maltese population; protected via the Trees and Woodlands (Protection) Regulations (Legal Notice 12 of 2001) as a Strictly Protected Tree - Myrtus communis: very rare; vulnerable in the area and with a restricted distribution across the Maltese Islands; it is one of the trees most characteristic of the Mediterranean maquis, but is still a very rare plant; it is protected via Legal Notice 12 of 2001 (Trees and Woodlands (Protection) Regulations) as a Strictly Protected Tree Ceratonia siliqua, Olea europaea, Pistacia lentiscus, Punica granatum and Crataegus monogyna are among the important components of the forest remnants and undergrowth of the area. All these species are protected via Legal Notice 12 of 2001, namely the Trees and Woodlands (Protection) Regulations (Environment Protection Act). - Ceratonia siliqua is common and this area houses some of the oldest carob trees of the Maltese Islands - Olea europaea is rare in the wild and in fact has a restricted distribution in the wild across the Maltese Islands - Pistacia lentiscus is frequent and some fine specimens are known from the area - Punica granatum is known to be rare in the wild - Crataegus monogyna is known to be frequentAlso present at the site is a stand of pine trees that were originally planted but are now naturalised. Among these are Pinus halepensis trees, which aredesignated as strictly protected under Schedule I of Legal Notice 12 of 2001 - Trees and Woodlands (Protection) RegulationsThe site is known to be rich in mycoflora, most of which are either exclusive to the forest remnant, or else confined to this and other forest remnants, thereby being equally rare and vulnerable and with a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands. A small list of the most important macrofungi known to date follows: - Amanita ovoidea: only known from this site; RDB listed since it is very rare and with a restricted distribution across the Maltese Islands; grows under Pinus halepensis - Calvatia excipuliforme, Cantharellus cibarius, Russula xerampelina: are only known from this site and hence have a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands; grow under Quercus ilex - Helvella crispa: this fungus is only known from the described site and from Imgiebah (another Natura 2000 site); it grows associated with / under Quercus ilex; it is RDB listed, it being very rare and with a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands - Helvella lacunosa: this has a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands, it being known from two localities only; grows under Quercus ilex - Hygrocybe ovina: this fungus is only known from the described site, close to Olea europaea; RDB listed with a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands - Inonotus indicus (= Aurificaria indica): this has a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands and the Mediterranean, Malta being the only known European station; grows on Quercus ilex - Phaeolus schweinitzii: this has a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands and is known from under conifers and Ceratonia siliqua; record from this site possibly referable to Inonotus indicus - Xerocomus chrysenteron s.l.: the nominal form is found at this site and at Mtahleb, var. vesicolor at Mgiebah and Wied Hazrun; different populations are distinguishable; has a retsricted distribution in the Maltese Islands and found on Quercus ilex A number of myxomycetes, are also found in the area, most of which have been recorded on dead wood or dead leaves. More studies / surveys are necessary in order to establish their status. Most of such species are known to have a restricted distribution across the Maltese Islands. The following are those that have been reported from this site: - Arcyria minuta: known from dead branch of Quercus ilex; has a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands, it being known from two localities only in the Maltese Islands - Arcyria pomiformis: known from dead wood; has a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands, it being known from two localities only in the Maltese Islands - Badhamia foliicola: known from dead leaf of Ceratonia siliqua; has a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands, it being known from two localities only in the Maltese Islands - Comatricha anomala: known from dead wood of Quercus ilex; has a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands and the Mediterranean (Malta & Spain); this site is the only known locality in the Maltese Islands - Craterium aureum: known from dead leaf of Ceratonia siliqua; has a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands; this site is the only known locality in the Maltese Islands - Diderma spumarioides: known to be rare and with a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands; this site is the only known locality in the Maltese Islands - Didymium clavus: this is known to be rare on dead leaves; it has a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands; this site is the only known locality in the Maltese Islands - Didymium squamulosum: known from dead leaves of Ceratonia siliqua; has a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands, it being known from two localities only in the Maltese Islands - Lycogala epidendrum: known growing on Quercus ilex; has a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands; this site is the only known locality in the Maltese Islands - Physarum leucopus: known on dead leaves; various variants observed; has a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands; this site is the only known locality in the Maltese Islands - Physarum melleum: known growing on dead leaves of Quercus ilex; has a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands; this site is the only known locality in the Maltese Islands - Physarum nutans: known on dead wood; reported as common from all localities visited - Physarum viride: known on dead wood; reported as common from all localities visited - Trichia lutescens: known to be rare on dead branch of Quercus ilex; has a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands; this site is the only known locality in the Maltese Islands - Trichia persimilis: known on dead branch of Olea europaea; has a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands; this site is the only known locality in the Maltese IslandsA number of lichens have also been recorded from this site, all of which are reported from old surveys (which could not be confirmed by this study). They have all been reported as having a restricted distribution across the Maltese Islands. Some have only been recorded from one locality, as are Arthonia didyma, Graphina sophistica var. melitensis, Opegrapha lilacina and Urceolaria scruposa var. bryophylla. On the other hand, the site is one of two localities for Leconara lentigera, while the lichen Leconaora hageni is not common on trees and has an overall restricted distribution across the islands. The following gives some further notes on the species mentioned: - Arthonia didyma: known growing on Olea europaea; has a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands; this site is the only known locality - Graphina sophistica var. melitensis: this is possibly endemic; known from Ficus carica; has a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands; this site is the only known locality - Lecanora lentigera: known growing on humid rocky ground; reported from two localities only in the Maltese Islands. - Leconara hageni: this is not common and is known to grow on trees; it has a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands - Opegrapha lilacina: this is very rare and is known to grow on Punica granatum; it has a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands; this site is the only known locality - Urceolaria scruposavar. bryophila: this is known to grow on mosses, but is not common; it has a restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands; this site is the only known localityThe area as a whole is characterised by a mixed heath and labiate garrigue with Erica multiflora, Teucrium fruticans and Thymus capitatus (dominant species). Of these, the latter is legally protected through Government Notice 85 of 1932. The said garrigue is very important for a number of rare, threatened and/or endemic flora, as well as plants with a restricted distribution in the Mediterranean. A selection of these follows: - Anacamptis urvilleana: rare; endemic; strictly protected by the Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Protection Regulations (Legal Notice 311 of 2006) & listed in Annexes II and IV of Directive 92/43/EEC on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora (the Habitats Directive), implying that this is a plant species of interest whose conservation also requires the designation of special areas of conservation; RDB listed; restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands and the Mediterranean - Asphodelus fistulosus: very rare; this species is now confined only to a few isolated localities; RDB Listed; restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands - Carlina involucrata: frequent; RDB listed; restricted distribution in the Mediterranean - Chiliadenus bocconei: common; endemic; RDB listed; restricted distribution in the Mediterranean - Clematis cirrhosa: scarce, but very rare in the area; climber; restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands - Convolvulus tricolor: very rare; represented by subsp. cupanianus, an essentially western African taxon, with Sicily and Malta as its only known native European stations; RDB listed; restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands and the Mediterranean - Juniperus phoenicea: very rare; protected through the Trees and Woodlands Protection Regulations (Legal Notice 12 of 2001) under Schedule I (Strictly Protected Trees); restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands - Orobanche muteliforma melitensis: endemic; parasitic on the invasive alien Oxalis pes-caprae; RDB listed; restricted distribution in the Mediterranean - Ranunculus bulbosus: not common; along watercourses and springs; restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands - Satureja microphylla (= Micromeria microphylla): sub-endemic; confined to Malta, Sicily and the Apulia region of Italy; related to a number of Aegean and Middle East species; RDB listed; restricted distribution in the Mediterranean - Senecio bicolor: sub-endemic; restricted distribution in the MediterraneanThe fauna of the forest remnant is also peculiar, and mostly exceedingly vulnerable once it is dependant on the constant forest cover. It is mostly comprised of invertebrates, most of which live embedded in the soil, leaf litter, in dead branches of trees, under the bark of trees or damp stones. Few animal groups have been studied in the area, but within the groups analysed (mainly woodlice, molluscs, beetles and bugs), most of the species are very rare and vulnerable. A number of endemic and sub-endemic species are known from the area, including two soil-dwelling coleoptera known only from deep soils typical of forest and maquis remnants, namely Torneuma maltense and Torneuma strictum; the latter insect has been described from Il-Ballut tal-Wardija, which therefore is to be considered its type locality. A selected list of important fauna associated with this forest remnant is given below: - Aleurotrachelus rhamnicola: Homoptera; vulnerable; on Rhamnus alaternus, which is in itself a very rare localised species; only known locality - Anthaxia scutellaris: Coleoptera; vulnerable; associated with Quercus ilex; only known locality - Anthaxia thalassophila (= Buprestis grammica = Anthaxia scutellaris auct.): Coleoptera; very rare & critically endangered; found in sclerophyll forests, maquis, scrub and riparian woodlands; larvae develop on dead branches of Quercus ilex, but also known from Fraxinus and Pistacia spp.; only known from Buskett and Il-Ballut tal-Wardija; RDB Listed - Bathytropa schembrii: Isopoda; very rare; endemic; troglobitic, adapted to live in crevices in mud; protected by the Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Protection Regulations (Legal Notice 311 of 2006); RDB listed; restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands - Chamaeleo chamaeleon: Reptilia; protected by the Reptile Protection Regulations (Legal Notice 76 of 1992) & listed in Appendix II of the Bern Convention & Annex IV of Directive 92/43/EEC on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora (the Habitats Directive); RDB listed - Glomeris distichella: Diplopoda; Siculo-Maltese endemic; found in woodland and maquis, particularly along rdum; protected by the Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Protection Regulations (Legal Notice 311 of 2006); RDB listed - Lauria cylindrica: Mollusca; rare; under leaf litter in forest remnants and maquis; the populations of Il-Ballut (Mgiebah and Wardija) are particularly vulnerable - Porcellio obsoletus: Isopoda; saproxylic species, living under the bark of Quercus ilex - Tilloidea unifasciata (= Clerus fasciatus = Tillus unifasciatus = Attelabus serraticornis = Attelabus formicarius minor): Coleoptera; indeterminate status; in maquis, garrigue and steppe; larvae develop on Quercus and Vitis; adults also found on Cynara cardunculus; predatory on insects living in wood and timber; RDB listed - Torneuma maltense: Coleoptera; very rare, endangered; endemic; found in soil at 10-30cm depth under Quercus ilex; protected by the Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Protection Regulations (Legal Notice 311 of 2006); restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands - Torneuma strictum: Coleoptera; very rare, endangered; endemic; found in soil at 10-30cm depth under Quercus ilex; type locality; protected by the Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Protection Regulations (Legal Notice 311 of 2006); restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands - Tychomorphus integer (= Tychus integer): Coleoptera; very rare; Siculo-Maltese endemic (with an old record from Kef/Tunisia to be verified); in maquis habitats in humid and freshwater environments, under large stones; protected by the Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Protection Regulations (Legal Notice 311 of 2006); RDB listed; restricted distribution in the Maltese IslandsFrom the general area, a number of other important fauna have also been reported: - Bactra furfurana: Lepidoptera; rare; caterpillar that lives on Typha, Carex and Cyperus spp.; now rare and limited to a few areas with adequate supply of freshwater - Discoglossus pictus: Amphibia; vulnerable and is becoming more restricted due to habitat destruction, pollution and persistent persecution; protected under the auspices of the Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Protection Regulations (Legal Notice 311 of 2006) & Listed in Appendix II (Strictly Protected Fauna) of the Bern Convention & in Annex IV (Animal and Plant Species of Community Interest in Need of Strict Protection) of the Habitats Directive; RDB listed; restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands and the Mediterranean - Eptesicus serotinus (= Vespertilio serotinus): Chiroptera; hunts along woodland edges and around street lamps; insect prey is mainly caught in flight but also taken off ground or branches; not recently observed; protected under the auspices of the Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Protection Regulations (Legal Notice 311 of 2006) & Listed in Appendix II (Strictly Protected Fauna) of the Bern Convention & in Annex IV (Animal and Plant Species of Community Interest in Need of Strict Protection) of the Habitats Directive; RDB listed; restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands; only reported locality - Podarcis filfolensis maltensis: endemic; protected under the auspices of the Reptile Protection Regulations (Legal Notice 76 of 1992) and the Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Protection Regulations (Legal Notice 311 of 2006) & listed in Appendix II (Strictly Protected Fauna) of the Bern Convention & in Annex IV (Animal and Plant Species of Community Interest in Need of Strict Protection) of the Habitats Directive; RDB listed; restricted distribution in the Maltese Islands and the Mediterranean - Rhipiphorus subdipterus: Coleoptera; indeterminate; the status of this taxon in the Maltese Islands is not known as yet; generally parasitic on Halictus bees

4.3 Threats, pressures and activities with impacts on the site

The most important impacts and activities with high effect on the site

Negative Impacts
RankThreats and pressures [code]Pollution (optional) [code]inside/outside [i|o|b]
LJ01o
LA01i
LJ01i
LE03.04i
LA11i
MA08o
LE04.01i
LE03.03i
MA07i
LA09i
LE01.03i
MA07o
MA08i
LA09o
LA01o
MI01i
LE01.03o
LB01.02o
LB02.03i
Positive Impacts
RankActivities, management [code]Pollution (optional) [code]inside/outside [i|o|b]
LE04.01i
LA01o
LA09i
HA04.03i
LE01.03o

Rank: H = high, M = medium, L = low
Pollution: N = Nitrogen input, P = Phosphor/Phosphate input, A = Acid input/acidification,
T = toxic inorganic chemicals, O = toxic organic chemicals, X = Mixed pollutions
i = inside, o = outside, b = both

5. SITE PROTECTION STATUS

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6. SITE MANAGEMENT

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6.1 Body(ies) responsible for the site management:

Organisation:Environment and Resources Authority
Address:
Email:natura.2000@era.org.mt

6.2 Management Plan(s):

An actual management plan does exist:

Yes
No, but in preparation
X
No

 

7. MAP OF THE SITE

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INSPIRE ID:MT0000003
Map delivered as PDF in electronic format (optional)
Yes
No

SITE DISPLAY