Dr Sandro Lanfranco and Andrea Francesca Bellia, researchers from the Department of Biology at the University of Malta are current Management Committee members for COST Action CA18201 ConservePlants: An integrated approach to conservation of threatened plants for the 21st Century.
This COST Action is composed of a network of scientific specialist experts and stakeholders across the 37 participating countries, who discuss ideas and techniques for habitat and species protection. Due to topical issues such as climate change, conflicts of land use and overpopulation, the current goals set to protect native plants from extinction however have not been attained.
In part-fulfilment of one of the deliverables of this action, they have written an inspiring and thought-provoking essay on ‘The COST of COVID-19', which has been uploaded on the/their COST action website.
Their essay focuses on the role COST Actions have in making a difference to our environment.
This is made possible by joining forces with individuals of similar interests, not just for the good of the human community, but more specifically, biodiversity. They also detail how recent developments with regards to COVID-19 have affected this COST Action – in particular that of networking and scientific knowledge dissemination, which are now predominantly being carried out virtually. Although the virus may have put a spanner in the works, there is however a silver lining: our environment seems to be responding positively to the resultant changes in our actions. Suddenly, our conservation efforts do not seem so futile.
“One can only hope that once this is all over, we will be able to maintain the changes that have led to it in order to be able to appreciate our natural environment.”
(Photo provided by Dr Lanfranco & Ms Bellia; From left to right: Anacamptis pyramidalis subsp urvilleana, Helichrysum melitense, Matthiola incana subsp melitensis)