Villagers in Cyprus have confronted British soldiers based on the east Mediterranean island over the cutting down of trees at a firing range.

British bases spokesman Kristian Gray told The Associated Press that Thursday's standoff, which saw local residents from a village inside a British base confronting soldiers and blocking their trucks from leaving the area for several hours, ended peacefully.

Gray said the overnight military operation was intended to boost safety by improving visibility inside the firing range.

Xylophagou community leader Tasos Anglogallos said villagers were angry that soldiers had cleared eucalyptus and other vegetation near the community's only and much prized forested area. Activists also say the acacia trees that were cut down are used by locals to illegally trap songbirds served at restaurants as a delicacy.