The Għajn Barrani area covers the stretch of cliffs from Marsalforn to the sandy beach of Ramla. The area characterised by the flat terrain is known as il-Qortin ta’ Għajn Damma and tal-Gabdoll; while the species-rich clay slopes which surround the flat terrain are locally known as żrieraq tat-tafal.
The valley system of Wied il-Pergla opens into the area. Wied il-Pergla is considered to be a potential source of nourishment for the offshore residues within the region, the latter being in turn possibly also an important source of sand for the Ramla sand dune system, which is a stand-alone Natura 2000 site, located further east of the coast.
Owing to the supply of water arising from springs found in this area and the water-retaining abilities of blue clay, this area was used for agricultural practices which have now been long abandoned. However, some maquis species, including a number of fruit trees such as pomegranates, old olives, hawthorns and various wild rosaceous tree species, have become naturalised and form large impenetrable copses, indicating that the area was possibly an orchard in the past.
Due to its continuous supply of freshwater this area also supports the best community characterised by the native African tamarisk and the rare chaste trees, which is overall rare in the Maltese islands.
Other important coastal communities in this area include garrigue typified by the shrubby kidney vetch and the tree spurge, as well as escarpments supporting rare and endemic plants such as the Maltese hyoseris and Maltese stock.
This Natura 2000 site will be subject to the preparation of a management plan and/or legislation in the near future, as part of an EU-funded project that Mepa is undertaking for the management planning all the terrestrial Natura 2000 sites of the Maltese islands.
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