Database release:

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



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1.1 Type


1.2 Site code


1.3 Site name

L-Inhawi ta' Ta' Cenc

1.4 First Compilation date


1.5 Update date


1.6 Respondent:

Name/Organisation:Environment and Resources Authority
Address:  Biodiversity Unit    
Date site proposed as SCI:2008-09
Date site confirmed as SCI:2009-12
Date site designated as SAC: No data
National legal reference of SAC designation: No data


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2.1 Site-centre location [decimal degrees]:


2.2 Area [ha]


2.3 Marine area [%]


2.4 Sitelength [km]:


2.5 Administrative region code and name

NUTS level 2 code Region Name

2.6 Biogeographical Region(s)

Mediterranean (100.00 %)


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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
1240  info      11.9608  0.00 
1510  info      4.16453  0.00 
3140  info      11.5121  0.00 
3170  info      0.00 
5330  info      16.2655  0.00 
5410  info      4.80955  0.00 
5430  info      4.26269  0.00 
6220  info      41.8276  0.00 
8210  info      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.
P4079Cremnophyton lanfrancoi       
P4092Elatine gussonei       
P4084Hyoseris frutescens       
P4114Linaria pseudolaxiflora       
P4085Palaeocyanus crassifolius       
  • 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)


Population in the site


Group CODE Scientific Name S NP Size Unit Cat. Species Annex Other categories
     MinMax C|R|V|PIVVABCD
Acinopus ambiguus               
Agonum nigrum               
Allium melitense               
Allium permixtum               
Aloe vera               
Anaphiloscia sicula               
Anthemis urvilleana               
Anthyllis hermanniae               
Armadillidium badium badium               
Armadillidium schmalfussi               
Asparagus stipularis               
Asplenium trichomanes               
Atelerix algirus               
Branchipus sp./spp.               
Callitriche sp.               
Carlina involucrata               
Ceratonia siliqua               
Cernuella caruanae               
Chaetophiloscia elongata               
Chalcides ocellatus               
Chiliadenus bocconei               
Clematis cirrhosa               
Coluber viridiflavus               
Convolvulus oleifolius               
Coronilla valentina               
Crataegus sp.               
Crucianella rupestris               
Damasonium bourgaei               
Darniella melitensis               
Daucus rupestris               
Desmazeria pignatti               
Discoglossus pictus               
Echium sabulicola               
Embletis verbasci               
Euphorbia dendroides               
Euphorbia exigua var. pycnophylla               
Fedia graciliflora var. insularis               
Filago cossyrensis               
Gladiolus dubius               
Hypericum aegypticum               
Iris pseudopumila               
Limonium melitense               
Macrothrix hirsuticornis               
Maniola jurtina hyperhispulla               
Matthiola incana subsp. melitensis               
Messor caducus               
Metaponorthus pruinosus               
Muticaria macrostoma f. oscitans               
Neoplatyura biumbrata               
Neotinea maculata               
Olea europaea               
Omophlus melitensis               
Ononis biflora               
Ophrys lutea               
Ophrys speculum               
Orchis cf. conica               
Orobanche muteli f. melitensis               
Otiorhynchus moriger               
Otiorhynchus schembrii               
Papilio machaon melitensis               
Parietaria lusitanica               
Periploca angustifolia               
Phagnalon graecum subsp. ginzbergeri               
Pimelia rugulosa melitana               
Pipistrellus kuhlii               
Pipistrellus pipistrellus               
Piptatherum caerulescens               
Pistacia lentiscus               
Plantago bellardi               
Plecotus austriacus               
Podarcis filfolensis maltensis               
Ranunculus saniculaefolius               
Rhamnus oleoides               
Rosa canina               
Rubus cf. caesius               
Satureja microphylla               
Scilla hyacinthoides               
Scilla sicula               
Scybalicus oblongiusculus               
Sedum caeruleum               
Sedum caespitosum               
Senecio bicolor               
Senecio leucanthemifolius               
Senecio pygmaeus               
Silene fruticosa               
Spartium junceum               
Stenosis melitana               
Tarentola mauritanica               
Teesdalea coronopifolia               
Tentyria laevigata leachi               
Teucrium spinosum               
Thesium humile               
Thymus capitatus               
Trifolium lucanicum               
Trochoidea gharlapsi               
Trochoidea spratti s.l.               
Urginea pancration               
Vicia tetrasperma               
Vitex agnus-castus               
Zannichellia melitensis               
  • 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


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4.1 General site character

Habitat class % Cover

Total Habitat Cover


Other Site Characteristics

The Ta' Cenc area, located in the southwest of Gozo, comprises a relatively undeveloped stretch of open land characterised by a number of geomorphological units supporting a conglomeration of natural habitats. In this respect, the Ta' Cenc area is highly influenced by one of the largest fault complex systems of Gozo, where the area is bound by a steep escarpment along its northern periphery and a belt of sheer coastal cliffs to the south.These vertical lower coralline limestone cliffs border the southern half of the site, extending from Ta' Cenc to Il-Bajja ta' Mgarr ix-Xini. The vertical sides support rupestral communities, rich in endemic species.The northern half of the site is characterised by an extensive karstic Globigerina limestone terrain plateau that extends from the western end of Ix-Xaghra l-Kbira in a southeastward direction towards Tal-Kalkara, Il-Qortin iz-Zghir and Ta' Nanas, occupying a central portion of the plateau, and along the southern direction towards Tad-Debda, Ix-Xaghra and Il-Qortin il-Kbir, thus occupying an expanse of land overlooking the cliffs on the western and southwestern sectors. These karst areas are typified by a mosaic of grasslands, ermes, phrygana and pre-desert scrub communities.Formerly cultivated, terraced fields occupy a significant portion of land to the east (as at Is-Sisien, Tal-Kalkara and Tas-Smina) and southeast (at Ta' Riglis, Lizgandlu and Ta' L-Iskandlu). A number of trees (Ficus carica and Ceratonia silqua) and large shrubs also occur on the peripheries in some of the former fields.The steep-sided valley at Wied Sabbara drains a fair extent of the land cover towards the eastern side. Wied Sabbar shows a mosaic of natural communities; dominated by Euphorbia dendroides or Hypericum aegypticum on the steep sides, watercourse vegetation along the valley bed, and archaeophytic assemblages.The Ras in-Newwiela promontary forms a flat Globigerina Limestone cliff-top platform that is colonised by maritime steppe communities, dominated by Lygeum and Stipa.Note on 'Other Land': the other land comprises mainly areas with rockpools and temporary ponds.

4.2 Quality and importance

Within this site, the open karstic plateau is characterised by relatively shallow soils colonised by various grassland, phrygana and pre-desert scrub assemblages. This area in general supports a wide range of flora and fauna that include various reptiles; small mammals, including Atelerix algirus; and various invertebrate groups, including the endemic Armadillidium schmalfussi, Stenosis melitana, Tentyria laevigata leachi and Pimelia rugulosa melitana.The areas from Fuq tal-Gruwa/Ix-Xaghra l-Kbira to Ta' Nanas consist mostly of phrygana and steppic assemblages, which also include flora and fauna of interest, including the endemic molluscs Muticaria macrostoma oscitans, and Trochoidea spratti. The Ta' Nanas area also houses a relatively large but localised population of the sub-endemic Scilla sicula, as well as fairly extensive patches dominated by Brachypodium retusum.The phrygana communities (5410) of Ta' Cenc extend throughout the northern escarpment that defines the northern boundary of the area, from Fuq tal-Gruwa to Il-Hamra, extending partly to Il-Qortin iz-Zghir. This habitat type is characterised by Anthyllis hermanniae and labiate shrubs, particularly Thymus captitatus. Anthyllis hermanniae also occurs in other areas, as at Ix-Xaghra l-Kbira, but does not characterise the habitat type, which is mostly typified by various annuals and other plants typical of the Mediterranean xeric grasslands (6220), but also including andropogonid grasses, as Hyparrhenia hirta.These xeric grassland habitats (6220) can be found nearly throughout the entire Ta' Cenc area, although the status of its distribution and conservation varies. The areas near Il-Qortin iz-Zghir and Ta' Nanas host grasslands in a good conservation status, whereas the grasslands in other areas, such as at Ix-Xaghra and Il-Qortin il-Kbir, are more disturbed. Thermo-Mediterranean and pre-desert scrub communities (5330) are particularly well-developed in the area, these being often characterised by dense populations of Euphorbia dendroides. The community within this site represents one of the best examples throughout the Maltese Islands and is deemed to be at a highly favourable conservation status, conferring a high ecological value and uniqueness to this habitat type in the area. This habitat type occurs on the extensive karstic plateau at Il-Qortin il-Kbir, at the headwaters of Wied Sabbara and at Il-Blat ta' Psaila. On the western valley-sides of Wied Sabbara, this habitat type occurs in conjunction with Hypericum aegypticum; such assemblage is usually referred to as phrygana (5430), but requires further studies as to its distinction from pre-desert scrub and other similar habitat types (such as from 5410).The temporary rainwater rock pools (3140 & 3170) occur scattered all over the area, depending on karstic depressions and rainfall. Examples of such communities are found in the areas of Ta' l-Ghadira, Il-Qortin il-Kbir and Il-Qortin iz-Zghir, and include an array of threatened vascular flora, including chandelier algae/stoneworts (Charophyta species), Elatine gussonei (Annex II Habitats Directive), Damasonium bourgaei, Ranunculus saniculaefolius, and Zannichellia melitensis, fairy shrimps (Branchipus sp./spp.) as well as the amphibian Discoglossus pictus (Annex IV Habitats Directive).Vegetated sea cliffs of the Mediterranean coasts with endemic Limonium spp. (1240) and calcareous rocky slopes with chasmophytic vegetation (8210), are both associated with coastal limestone cliffs, and occur as a mosaic of natural habitats throughout the belt of coastal cliffs extending from Ta' Cenc to Il-Bajja ta' Mgarr ix-Xini. The cliffs at Ta' Cenc support a very important rupestral maritime community with a variety of species that are otherwise rare across the Maltese Islands. Such species include Cremnophyton lanfrancoi, Palaeocyanus crassifolius, Matthiola incana ssp. melitensis and Hyoseris frutescens, all threatened Maltese endemic cliff species. The assemblage is also based on other endemics and species with a restricted distribution in the Mediterranean, including Limonium melitense, Darniella melitensis, Hypericum aegypticum, Crucianella rupestris, Daucus rupestris and Senecio leucanthemifolius. In addition, Coronilla valentina s.l. and Echium sabulicola, two species rare on the national scale, also grow at Ta' Cenc and Ras in-Newwiela respectively. In this respect, it should be noted that the cliff of Ta' Cenc support the best known population of the Annex II (Habitats Directive) species Palaeocyanus crassifolius in the island of Gozo (this species is rare on the island of Gozo).Footpaths in the area in general house an interesting assemblage of plant species, particularly within the area of Wied Sabbara, where Evax pygmaea, Romulea spp., Gynandriris sisyrinchium, Plantago coronopus s.l., Euphorbia exigua s.l. and Filago cossyrensis occur.Note on Section: Ecological Information - Habitats There are extensive areas in the Ta' Cenc area where habitat types co-occur. For instance, the priority habitat type Mediterranean Temporary Ponds (3170) and the habitat type Hard Oligo-Mesotrophic Waters with Benthic Vegetation of Chara spp. (3140) often co-occur in this site. In addition, they also co-occur with other habitat types, namely Thermo-Mediterranean and Pre-desert Scrub (5330), Pseudo-steppe with grasses and annuals of the Thero-Brachypodietea (6220), Vegetated Sea Cliffs of the Mediterranean Coasts with Endemic Limonium spp. Meadows (1240) and Calcareous Rocky Slopes with Chasmophytic Vegetation (8210). Percentage cover for these co-occurrences has been included under habitat type 3140. Furthermore, the latter two habitat types (1240 & 8210) also co-occur and percentage cover was included only once under habitat type 1240. The habitat type Thermo-Mediterranean and pre-desert scrub (Code 5330) also co-occurs with the two above-mentioned habitat types (1240 and 8210). In this case, the percentage cover of this co-occurrence was included in the percentage cover of habitat type 5330, since the latter appears to be dominant. Additionally, habitat type 5330 also co-occurs with habitat type Endemic Phryganas of the Euphorbio-Verascion (5430). The percentage cover of this co-occurrence was included under habitat type 5430.

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]
Positive Impacts
RankActivities, management [code]Pollution (optional) [code]inside/outside [i|o|b]

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


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6.1 Body(ies) responsible for the site management:

Organisation:Environment and Resources Authority

6.2 Management Plan(s):

An actual management plan does exist:

No, but in preparation



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