What is the matter being tackled?
Invasive alien species (IAS) pose a serious and major threat to flora and fauna biodiversity and are accurately summed up by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as ‘immense, insidious, and usually irreversible’. They establish themselves rapidly, displacing native species, pushing them closer to the brink of extinction. IAS also alter energy and nutrient flows, local food webs, and are often toxic and a reservoir for parasites.
What is being done to improve ecosystem health?
The FAST project (funded under the framework of Interreg V-A Italia-Malta Operational Programme 2014-2020 will see an improvement in ecosystem health and resilience by tackling invasive alien species.
When will this project commence and how long will it go on for?
The FAST project has been given the green light to kickstart activities this November, and will be active for 30 months.
What is the project trying to achieve?
The main objectives of the project are to counter the spread of terrestrial invasive alien species by:
- creating priority scales of classifications;
- taking action for their containment and/or eradication;
- identifying pathways; and
- influencing vectors.
The project will also restore habitats and involve citizens, stakeholders and residents with the aim of participating in the project whilst preparing them for future interventions in neighbouring habitats.
Who is participating in this project?
The FAST project is an interesting collaboration between 5 partners from both Malta and Sicily.
The University of Catania will be leading the partnership under the direction of Prof. Giorgio Sabella from the Department of Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences.
Two other project partners hail from Malta (University of Malta and Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights) while the other two are from Sicily (Metropolitan City of Catania and the Free Municipal Consortium of Ragusa).
Prof. Mifsud is also the coordinator and project leader of one work package of another EU funded project called 'No PROBleMS' related to honeybee health.