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 2011

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Integrated Science and Technology


Biosphere reserves are protected areas which are internationally recognized within the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation’s Man and the Biosphere Programme for promoting and establishing a balanced relationship between people and nature. Biosphere reserve management is guided by principles of biodiversity conservation; sustainable development; local, national and international partnership and support; local capacity-building; research and monitoring and co-operative management that is multidisciplinary, multi-stakeholder and locally-based. The research evaluated the feasibility of implementing the biosphere reserve concept in the Maltese Islands. This was studied by applying a conservation framework which consisted of holistic conservation value appraisal criteria – incorporating ecological, geomorphological and cultural values, spatial analyses and specialist involvement. The resultant data was digitised into a series of thematic layers by means of a Geographic Information System (GIS). The resultant layers were superimposed to identify locations with significant conservation value. This resultant data was used to propose a delineated biosphere reserve zonation system in the Maltese Islands. A biosphere reserve system would be an appropriate mechanism to pursue in the study area mainly due to the flexibility of the reserve’s zonation system and the encouragement of the active inclusion of local populations in the management of protected areas. The proposed biosphere reserve could be a success if the protected area would be implemented with an appropriate management system incorporating local stakeholders, an identification of a suitable financing mechanism to run the reserve, and the involvement of the local populations in all of the designation and management stages of the protected area.