Sicily represents one of the largest reservoirs of biological diversity in Italy and Europe, and hosts a large number of endemic species. 

Malta has similar characteristics, yet on a smaller scale due to its more limited size. In the region, the ratio of species threatened by extinction is high in all classes (amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) and includes many endemic species. In the Cross-Border area, intensive agriculture, urbanization and the development of residential tourist complexes are the main factors compromising natural habitats and local species viability. While the land area made up of sites officially designated for protection is 20% and 28% in Malta and in Sicily respectively, many of them are not effectively protected and/or plans have not been developed for their management, leading to their fragmentation and degradation.

The designation of Sicilian sites selected for project intervention as Special Areas of Conservation (all. 1 e 2 CEE Directtiva 43/92) and their inclusion as Special Protection Area ITA090029 recognize their central role in the larger system of stepping stones on the N-S migratory route between Europe and Africa. Furthermore, they are classified as IPA (Important Plants Area) no. 17 due to their “high conservation value and/or high richness of vascular species and habitat” and as IBA (Important Bird Area) n.167 Pantani di Vendicari e di Capo Passero. However, the fact that the Piano dei Parchi e delle Riserve della Regione Siciliana (D.A. Territorio e Ambiente 970 del 10.6.1991) includes them as protected areas, but has not yet officially established them as such, points to the need to enhance their management and conservation. Lack of natural tree and vegetative cover in Malta constrains habitat for biodiversity and contributes to land degradation and desertification, as well as accelerated soil erosion. It also limits aquifer recharge, a critical factor of water availability for agriculture and human use in Malta.



This project is part-financed by the European Union European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Co-financing rate: 85% Eu Funds; 15% National Funds.

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