Applied Environmental Sciences Research Group (AESReG)

    The Applied Environmental Sciences Research Group (AESReG) carries out research in the fields of sustainability and resources management. The group is based at the MCAST Institute of Applied Sciences campus in Paola. AESReG works with practitioners in environmental sciences that have broad industry experience, whilst also providing a platform for students to do research in various fields of environmental science.

    Research carried out by the AESReG mainly falls within the following two research themes:

    Thematic area 1 – Long-term environmental monitoring and sustainability studies

    The AESReG participates in multidisciplinary research relating to the fields of natural resources management, the environment and agriculture. Central to this thematic area is the creation and development of a research link with the environmental sciences industry, including local authorities, NGOs and other private organisations. The research product is mainly intended to inform management practices and for the development of basic and applied science aspects relating to the environment. The members of the research group have participated in several studies with the realm of environmental management and earth sciences, including local and landscape-scale ecological studies, ecological restoration projects, investigative studies relating to sustainability aspects of current management practices and resources use, climate change modelling and adaptation studies, and the development of local environmental policy.

    Thematic area 2 – Agro-environmental research

    The second research theme relates to agro-environmental issues, including reducing agricultural waste, reducing the carbon footprint of the farming sector, increasing carbon sequestration, conserving biodiversity, sustainability in agriculture, adapting to climate change, and water and energy management. Science developed from research carried out under this thematic area can be applied in the development of new ‘eco-friendly’ technologies for agriculture. A central theme for AESReG is the development of a working relationship with industrial partners, including relative government departments, agricultural companies and NGOs.

    Thematic area 3 – Ecosystem services, green infrastructure and nature-based solutions

    The AESReG is a pioneer in the implementation of research on biodiversity, ecosystem services and nature-based solutions in Malta, and has been involved in related projects since the research group’s inception. Recent research by AESReG has investigated the link between ecosystems, the delivery of ecosystem services that lead to benefits to society in Malta. AESReG collaborates strong with national authorities and with international partners in a number of projects that use multidisciplinary techniques to assess and map ecosystem services. Dr Balzan is the contact person for Malta’s national network of the Ecosystem Services Partnership.

     

    Activities and Outputs

    Providing Nature-Based Solutions for Sustainable Development

    The Institute of Applied Sciences of the MCAST has recently organised a research seminar entitled “Providing Nature-Based Solutions for Sustainable Development”. During the seminar, research on ecosystems, ecosystem services and associated benefits to society will be discussed, and the Horizon 2020 collaborative project ESMERALDA (“Enhancing ecoSysteM sERvices mApping for poLicy and Decision mAking”) will be launched locally.

    Evidence-based planning for greener cities

    A Conference on ‘Evidence-based planning for greener cities‘ was held on the 13 June 2017 in Paola, Malta to discuss how science and the mapping and assessment of ecosystems and their services can inform city planning and policy-making, in order to improve urban quality of life. The conference was organised as part of ‘EnRoute’ project of the European Commission, in collaboration with the Maltese Presidency of the EU, the Joint Research Centre and the Institute of Applied Sciences, Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology.

     

    The ‘Evidence-based Planning for Greener Cities’ conference

    Training on Natura 2000 sites conservation and management

    The Institute of Applied Science, organized a fully funded field trip to Sicily for BSc Environmental Engineering students to the Valle Dell’Anapo National Park in Sicily on Thursday 22nd June. The students were taken to the Riserva Naturale Orientata Pantalica, Valle dell'Anapo e Torrente Cava Grande, 40km northwest of Syracuse in the World Heritage–listed Necropoli di Pantalica. The Necropolis is a significant Iron Age and Bronze Age site which is situated on a plateau, surrounded on three sides by two deep limestone valleys, created by the Anapo and Calcinara rivers. The rivers support a variety of riparian habitats with relict species that are otherwise rare in the central Mediterranean region. The reserve covers an area of almost 40 square kilometers, and harbors over 600 species of plants, 14 of which are endemic to Sicily. The field visit was intended to show students examples of pristine reference ecosystems and how they can be restored and preserved.

    Research Projects

    Enhancing ecoSysteM sERvices mApping for poLicy and Decision mAking (ESMERALDA). Project funded by the Horizon 2020 programme.

    Land system dynamics in the Mediterranean basin across scales as relevant indicator for species diversity and local food systems (DIVERCROP). Project funded by the ARIMNET2 programme.

    COST Action FA1307 - Sustainable pollination in Europe - joint research on bees and other pollinators (SUPER-B)

     

    COST Action CA15113 - Science and Management of Intermittent Rivers and Ephemeral Streams (SMIRES)

    Research Team Members

    Dr Mario V Balzan

    Dr Eman Calleja

    Dr Laura Scalvenzi

    Mr Randall Cassar

     

    Applied Environmental Sciences Research Group (AESReG)

    The Applied Environmental Sciences Research Group (AESReG) carries out research in the fields of sustainability and resources management. The group is based at the MCAST Institute of Applied Sciences campus in Paola. AESReG works with practitioners in environmental sciences that have broad industry experience, whilst also providing a platform for students to do research in various fields of environmental science.

    Research carried out by the AESReG mainly falls within the following two research themes:

    Thematic area 1 – Long-term environmental monitoring and sustainability studies

    The AESReG participates in multidisciplinary research relating to the fields of natural resources management, the environment and agriculture. Central to this thematic area is the creation and development of a research link with the environmental sciences industry, including local authorities, NGOs and other private organisations. The research product is mainly intended to inform management practices and for the development of basic and applied science aspects relating to the environment. The members of the research group have participated in several studies with the realm of environmental management and earth sciences, including local and landscape-scale ecological studies, ecological restoration projects, investigative studies relating to sustainability aspects of current management practices and resources use, climate change modelling and adaptation studies, and the development of local environmental policy.

    Thematic area 2 – Agro-environmental research

    The second research theme relates to agro-environmental issues, including reducing agricultural waste, reducing the carbon footprint of the farming sector, increasing carbon sequestration, conserving biodiversity, sustainability in agriculture, adapting to climate change, and water and energy management. Science developed from research carried out under this thematic area can be applied in the development of new ‘eco-friendly’ technologies for agriculture. A central theme for AESReG is the development of a working relationship with industrial partners, including relative government departments, agricultural companies and NGOs.

    Thematic area 3 – Ecosystem services, green infrastructure and nature-based solutions

    The AESReG is a pioneer in the implementation of research on biodiversity, ecosystem services and nature-based solutions in Malta, and has been involved in related projects since the research group’s inception. Recent research by AESReG has investigated the link between ecosystems, the delivery of ecosystem services that lead to benefits to society in Malta. AESReG collaborates strong with national authorities and with international partners in a number of projects that use multidisciplinary techniques to assess and map ecosystem services. Dr Balzan is the contact person for Malta’s national network of the Ecosystem Services Partnership.

     

    Activities and Outputs

    Providing Nature-Based Solutions for Sustainable Development

    The Institute of Applied Sciences of the MCAST has recently organised a research seminar entitled “Providing Nature-Based Solutions for Sustainable Development”. During the seminar, research on ecosystems, ecosystem services and associated benefits to society will be discussed, and the Horizon 2020 collaborative project ESMERALDA (“Enhancing ecoSysteM sERvices mApping for poLicy and Decision mAking”) will be launched locally.

    Evidence-based planning for greener cities

    A Conference on ‘Evidence-based planning for greener cities‘ was held on the 13 June 2017 in Paola, Malta to discuss how science and the mapping and assessment of ecosystems and their services can inform city planning and policy-making, in order to improve urban quality of life. The conference was organised as part of ‘EnRoute’ project of the European Commission, in collaboration with the Maltese Presidency of the EU, the Joint Research Centre and the Institute of Applied Sciences, Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology.

     

    The ‘Evidence-based Planning for Greener Cities’ conference

    Training on Natura 2000 sites conservation and management

    The Institute of Applied Science, organized a fully funded field trip to Sicily for BSc Environmental Engineering students to the Valle Dell’Anapo National Park in Sicily on Thursday 22nd June. The students were taken to the Riserva Naturale Orientata Pantalica, Valle dell'Anapo e Torrente Cava Grande, 40km northwest of Syracuse in the World Heritage–listed Necropoli di Pantalica. The Necropolis is a significant Iron Age and Bronze Age site which is situated on a plateau, surrounded on three sides by two deep limestone valleys, created by the Anapo and Calcinara rivers. The rivers support a variety of riparian habitats with relict species that are otherwise rare in the central Mediterranean region. The reserve covers an area of almost 40 square kilometers, and harbors over 600 species of plants, 14 of which are endemic to Sicily. The field visit was intended to show students examples of pristine reference ecosystems and how they can be restored and preserved.

    Research Projects

    Enhancing ecoSysteM sERvices mApping for poLicy and Decision mAking (ESMERALDA). Project funded by the Horizon 2020 programme.

    Land system dynamics in the Mediterranean basin across scales as relevant indicator for species diversity and local food systems (DIVERCROP). Project funded by the ARIMNET2 programme.

    COST Action FA1307 - Sustainable pollination in Europe - joint research on bees and other pollinators (SUPER-B)

     

    COST Action CA15113 - Science and Management of Intermittent Rivers and Ephemeral Streams (SMIRES)

    Research Team Members

    Dr Mario V Balzan

    Dr Eman Calleja

    Dr Laura Scalvenzi

    Mr Randall Cassar