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 2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Department of Integrated Science and Technology

Abstract

Natura 2000 was established under the 1992 Habitats Directive as a EU wide network of nature protection areas by ensuring long-term survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats. Under the Natura 2000 scheme, there are a total of 32 protection areas in both Malta and Gozo. The different structural properties of the various rock layers results in various characteristic formations which are of ecological importance providing important refuge for many Maltese flora and fauna. In Malta, the different geomorphologic features are mainly a result of tectonic movement in which some are still dynamic and over the years will change. As this change occurs, habitats will change and the biota within will be forced to adapt to this change in the abiotic environment. This may result in a change in distribution patterns of species, as competition for niche space may lead to further changes in the overall make-up of the floral assemblage, which will in-turn have an impact on the fauna that depend on the habitat in question. Such modifications within the terrain, may threaten the status of certain species depending on their adaptation and vulnerability to change. The threats on geomorphology are the key factors in compatibility with ecology protection. The examination of the Natura 2000 sites along with the mapping of the geomorphological features shaping these habitats has shown a link between the two. Through this a series of conclusions and a number of recommendations have been drawn out based on these findings.

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