Advert

Modelling the link between biodiversity, ecosystem services and human well-being

The contributions of Malta’s landscapes to human well-being were the theme of two presentations by researchers from the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (Mcast) at the Agromed International Conference 2016, which was hosted by the French national agricultural research institute INRA in Avignon, France.

Entitled “Assessing the capacity and flows of ecosystem services in multi-functional landscapes”, the presentation by Mcast senior lecturer Mario Balzan investigated the contribution of Malta’s landscapes to the delivery of ecosystem services, leading to social and economic benefits. Ecosystem services are the contributions of our environment to the human well-being, and their conservation and enhancement is increasingly recognised as being an important part of sustainable development strategies.

Malta’s rural landscapes, characterised by patches of semi-natural and agricultural areas, are important for the delivery of ecosystem services, leading to societal benefits and contributing to the Maltese economy

Former Mcast undergraduate student Annrica Zammit also presented her research at the conference. Her work characterised Malta’s landscapes in terms of their cultural uses. The study was based on data collected by Zammit as part of her undergraduate dissertation project, which was conducted under Dr Balzan’s supervision.

Dr Balzan explained how environmental indicators were developed through the use of multidisciplinary techniques, including ecological surveys, environmental modelling, spatial analysis and stakeholder participation. These indicators were used to assess and map a number of key ecosystem services, including agricultural production, eco-tourism potential, pollination, honey production, and air quality improvement.

Results from the study provide first evidence of the link between ecosystems and their services in Malta, and demonstrate how Malta’s rural landscapes, characterised by patches of semi-natural and agricultural areas, are important for

the delivery of these services, leading to societal benefits and contributing to the Maltese economy.

This research was partially funded by the Horizon 2020 project Enhancing Ecosystem Services Mapping for Policy and Decision Making (Esmeralda), which aims to deliver a flexible methodology to provide the building blocks for pan-European and regional assessments of ecosystem services. These form an important part of the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020.

The work carried out by the Esmeralda project supports the needs of assessments in relation to the requirements for planning, agriculture, climate, water and nature policy.

Advert
Comments not loading? We recommend using Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox with javascript turned on.
Comments powered by Disqus  
Advert
Advert