Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Date of Award

Fall 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Integrated Science and Technology


Sandro Lanfranco

Louis F. Cassar


The degradation of the environment since the Industrial Revolution has been a turning point for legislation, leading to many countries, including EU states, to create legislations that conserve the environment. These legislations are based on scientific facts. This can create a divide between policy and science, as science and scientific methods are constantly changing, while policy has to keep up. Scientific facts of yesterday, may not necessarily be the same as today. This divide between science and policy may have implications on the designation of Protected Areas. One of the criteria of a Protected Area is the protection of an ‘important’ species and its habitat. It is critical that a species is identified correctly. However, as scientific knowledge is subjective, one expert opinion may not necessarily agree with another expert opinion. This paper has explored the numerous debates on endemic, sub-endemic and possibly endemic plant species, as these are the basis of the designation of Special Areas of Conservation in the Maltese Islands. Databases were constructed to show the presence of these species in Natura 2000 sites and other Protected Areas, along with the policies, both national and international, that protect them. The results have indicated that numerous Protected Areas may lose one of their main criteria for being set up. Due to the debates on the endemic status of the species, if the species were to be found elsewhere and lose its endemic status, there would need to be a re-evaluation of the Protected Area. This dissertation calls for a new approach in integrating science with policy