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The cropped walls of Malta. In: Barr, C. & Petit, S. (Eds), 2001. Hedgerows of the world: their ecological functions in different landscapes, pp. 87—92. International Association of Landscape Ecology, UK Region. IALE (UK)

ABSTRACT

In the Maltese Islands, most hedges are of fruit trees planted beside the dry stone walls that form most field and old road boundaries. Walls, and not hedges, are an integral and prominent part of the landscape, since terracing covers most slopes, and their retaining walls often project up above the soil of the upper field. However, hedges have been planted by walls for their crops, have developed as native plants, grow by neglected walls, and have - usually recently - been planted free-standing to screen, e.g. dwellings or to ornament, e.g. roads. Some hedges provide wind breaks and shelter (including shade and moisture), but most are themselves sheltered by walls.

The fruit trees include almond, carob, fig, olive, pomegranate, vine and prickly pear (the last, not a tree). These formerly added usefully to the farm economy, but with modern wealth are now increasingly left unharvested.