The Consellería de Agricultura, Pesca y Medio Natural informs that this Friday begins the second period allowed for the entry of ornamental trees in the Balearic Islands

Sep 15, 2023 | Current affairs, Featured, Revista Lloseta, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition

This Friday, September 15, begins the second period allowed for the entry into the ports of the Balearic Islands of olive, carob and holm oak trees over 40 centimetres of basal trunk circumference. This period will end next October 15. Thus, from this date, the entrance of these trees in the Archipelago will be restricted again, since it is when the hibernation season of the ophidians begins and with the imports these animals could move inside the bread of earth of the trees.

The second period allowed for the entry of ornamental trees in the Balearic Islands

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Limiting the entry of ornamental trees during the months of hibernation and egg laying and hatching of snakes was one of the measures established by Decree Law 1/2023, of January 30, on extraordinary and urgent measures for the protection of the Pitiusa lizard (Podarcis pityusensis) and the Balearic lizard (Podarcis lilfordi) and for the prevention and control of species of the Colubridae sensu lato family (BOIB no. 15 of February 2). The aim of this regulation is to adopt biosecurity measures to curb the entry of ophidians in the Balearic Islands because of the serious impacts they cause on biodiversity and, in particular, on endemic lizards since they prey mainly on these reptiles.

In the same Decree Law, the Pitiusa lizard (Podarcis pityusensis) and the Balearic lizard (Podarcis lilfordi) were declared as vulnerable species because of these recent threats to their insular subpopulations. In addition, they were included in the Balearic Catalog of Threatened and Specially Protected Species in this classification.

The entry of ornamental trees without restrictions is only allowed between April 1 and June 15 and between September 15 and October 15. For the rest of the year, an exceptional authorization must be requested from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Natural Environment and previously it must be certified that adequate control and biosecurity measures have been adopted to prevent the introduction of ophidians. Likewise, the identification, origin, date of extraction and traceability of each specimen must be accredited.

The intention of the Consellería is to channel the largest number of entries into the Balearic territory of specimens of olive, carob and holm oak trees with a basal trunk circumference greater than 40 cm in the periods authorized for this purpose. In any case, it must be remembered that the Decree Law 1/2023, of January 30, is not applicable to:

  • Trees of any species with a basal perimeter of the trunk equal to or less than 40 cm are not affected by the restrictions of the Decree Law.
  • Trees of any perimeter that have to enter the Balearic Islands between April 1 and June 15 or between September 15 and October 15, periods declared as working periods in which there are no restrictions for entry into the territory of the Balearic Islands.
  • Species other than those mentioned in this Decree-Law (olive, carob and holm oak).

In this line of prevention and fight against the introduction of snakes in the Balearic Islands, the Species Protection Service of the General Directorate of Natural Environment and Forest Management and the Consortium for the Recovery of the Fauna of the Balearic Islands (COFIB), with the collaboration of SEO/BirdLife, have prepared a leaflet that will be distributed among nurseries and other establishments, as well as institutions and groups affected by the application of Decree-Law 1/2023. The purpose is to facilitate compliance and avoid possible problems or inconveniences that may occur in the arrival at ports of the Balearic Islands of ornamental trees in periods not allowed and without the corresponding exceptional authorization.

Finally, it should be noted that last year, COFIB, through the financing of the ITS project ‘Control of invasive species in the Pitiusas’, captured 2,710 snakes in Ibiza, more than double the previous year, and in Formentera, 664. In total, 2,834 specimens were captured in the Pitiusas, 11,648 since 2016 (7,411 in Ibiza and 4,237 in Formentera).