Malta has carried out a preliminary identification of key ecosystems and ecosystem services for Malta as part of Malta’s Fifth National Report to the Convention on Biological Diversity.  On the basis of this exercise, work has commenced to implement the measures relating to MAES in Malta’s National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan 2012-2020.  This work involves:  prioritising ecosystems and ecosystem services for mapping and assessment; determining the level of detail best applicable to Malta; identifying available data/data sources that can be used in this regard; Identifying data gaps that will need to be addressed; as well as identifying stakeholders/experts to be consulted in the process, in particular for selection of the indicators to be used.

The ecosystem classification in the first MAES Report has been adapted to the Maltese scenario by making it more detailed and linking it to Art. 17 habitats that are typically found in the identified ecosystems at national level, so as to ensure as much as possible a synergistic approach with the Habitats Directive and other reporting obligations. In parallel, Malta invested in capacity building for mapping through intense GIS training. Following a period of trial mapping, which focussed on determining the appropriate mapping resolution and scale for use in policy and the mapping effort required, as well as discussions with national experts, the amended ecosystem typology was adopted. Furthermore, the official mapping of ecosystems commenced in Q4 of 2017. Subsequently, discussions with stakeholders on available data, including the developed ecosystem map, will be carried out on the priority ecosystem services (and indicators) to be included in the national assessment.

Work on the assessment of selected ecosystem services is being undertaken by the Institute of Applied Sciences within the Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST), as part of the ESMERALDA and En-Route projects. MCAST is carrying out a case-study to test ecosystem services assessment and mapping methods in Malta. This study included the development of a land use land cover map and the mapping of a number of ecosystem services. The maps generated were used to assess the contribution of ecosystems to the delivery of key ecosystem services in the multi-functional landscapes of the Maltese Islands.  Through the participation in the EnRoute project, MCAST will be applying the MAES framework at a local scale by implementing assessment and mapping techniques for the functional urban area of the capital city Valletta. It is expected that the results of these two projects will contribute to the development of the national assessment, once the studies are completed.

Date: 02/05/2018