SIMBIOTIC Project

Government Experimenatl Farm following planting - CopySIMBIOTIC (Sicily-Malta BIOgeographical Transboundary Insular Connectivity). SIMBIOTIC is an environmental restoration project aiming at enhancing the ecological connectivity of the South East Sicily-Gozo transboundary migratory route through ecological restoration, improved area management, integrated environmental planning and policy and enhanced local environmental consciousness.

This project was launched in May and is co-financed by the European Union under the Italia-Malta 2007-2013 territorial cooperation program.  Other partners in the project include the Botany Department of the University of Catania and the Comune di Pachino. The Institute of Earth Systems of the University of Malta is leading this project.

The SIMBIOTIC project, which covers the period between April 2011 and March 2013, was allocated a total budget of ¬1.16 million, 85% of which is coming from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).The remaining 15% are composed of national contributions by the four partners. The Ministry for Gozo is contributing an additional 184,000 Euro from the Eco-Gozo funds for this project. SIMBIOTIC dovetails perfectly with the implementation of the Governments eco-Gozo vision that aims to turn Gozo into an eco-island by 2020 through protection of the Gozitan lifestyle, and of the islands environment, resources, culture and identity, so that these will play a significant part in attracting quality tourism and sustainable investment to the island.

The first SIMBIOTIC Field Mission in Gozo was held between 21st and 24th March 2012. The Mission was attended by scientific experts in Botany, Ornithology, terrestrial ecology, geology and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) from the Institute of Earth Systems of the University of Malta (Lead Partner) and from theUniversity of Catania.

The programme of the Mission included field work sessions at the sites selected in Gozo for habitat restoration and formation at the Government Experimental Farm, Xewkija, Ta Lambert, also in Xewkija and it-Taksis, near Dahlet Qorrot. A meeting for stakeholders was held on 23rd March. At this meeting presentations were given about the SIMBIOTIC project and the proposed project activities in Gozo.

The second Gozo Field Mission will take place on 23rd  26th May, and it will be attended by delegations from all four SIMBIOTIC partners, namely The Institute of Earth Systems, the Ministry for Gozo, the University of Catania and the Comune dì Pachino, Sicily. The programme of this Mission incudes a scientific visit to Comino for all participants, fieldwork sessions at the Gozo sites for habitat restoration and formation, a meeting of the Steering Committee and Stakeholder Meetings to promote local participation and on landscape connectivity restoration and sustainable use of environmental resources. All those interested are invited to attend the Stakeholder meetings on Saturday 26th May 2012 at 9:15 am. They are of  particular interest to local councils, environmental and other NGOs, farmers organizations and agritourism operators.

For more information you can also visit the projects website: www.simbiotic.eu.

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