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Title: Countering the threat to Maltese agriculture from harmful alien species
Authors: Muscat, Anthony
Keywords: Food security -- Malta
Horticulture -- Malta
Introduced organisms -- Control -- Malta
Agriculture -- Malta
Issue Date: 2014
Abstract: Food and environmental security is fundamental for the well being of mankind. Efforts have been carried out throughout the years to ensure that such security is attained, but still there is always room for more effort to achieve desired results. Various prevailing factors can cause instability in small islands like Malta. The Maltese economy depends highly on the tourism sector, and this, in turn, necessitates that there should be enough food and space for such industry. In catering for this demand the potential introduction of invasive harmful species can cause harm both to agriculture and the environment and additionally, control and eradication is costly. The main aim of this research is to refine a policy based on a pro-active approach with special attention to the horticultural industry with due inclusion of afforestation and embellishment plus the rural community involved in growing horticultural crops. Such a policy approach will help local authorities to plan better their strategies in preventing invasive harmful species from reaching the Maltese islands. A pro-active policy also helps in the reduction of chemical inputs, better management of financial resources as a result of the control of the invasive harmful species through the identification by risk assessment. In this regard the research included a literature review section where an overview of the pathways was provided, with reference to plants and pests that were introduced locally. The main investigative approach was based on a questionnaire for a set group of stakeholders who were asked about the introduction of invasive species, how this would affect the agriculture and environmental sectors, and what type of communication existed between these respondents and local authorities. . The results obtained both from the study and literature review indicates that a policy based on a pro-active preventive approach would contribute to ensure control of harmful invasive species that could reach our islands. Such policy would focus on proper managerial resources and pest risk assessment so that action would be taken before invasive species reach us. The study also illustrated that participation of stakeholders together with education and training can play an important role. Additionally, climate change issues plus scientific research on the characteristics and impacts of invasive harmful species should be studied more in detail with particular emphasis on the local scenario.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - InsES - 2014

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