To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what progress his Department has made on the acacia tree project in the Cyprus Sovereign Base Areas; what the area of that project is in hectares; and whether his Department has undertaken an assessment of the conservation value of that project.
All acacia saligna on Ministry of Defence controlled land, estimated at 33 hectares, located within the Cape Pyla Special Area of Conservation (SAC), is subject to a Defence Infrastructure Organisation led management programme. This management programme includes the removal of the acacia saligna trees/shrubs and back-up control measures. As a result of a large forest fire in June 2019, up to a square kilometre of land containing significant mature acacia saligna coverage (circa 17 hectares), was burnt. Adaptations have been made in the management programme to control the acacia saligna regrowth following the fire. A draft environmental management plan for the Cape Pyla SAC aims to align land management activities, including the eradication and enduring management of the acacia saligna seedbed. Additionally, an Overseas Territories Environment and Climate funded project (DARWIN+) is in progress to evaluate options of optimising future management of areas affected by acacia saligna for efficient and effective habitat restoration.