University of Malta - Institute of Earth Systems, Malta
SIMBIOTIC is a pilot project for restoring the environment that has improved the ecological connectivity of cross-border zones between south eastern Sicily and Gozo, both territories on the Europe Africa bird migration route. The project’s actions have revived ecological systems in the areas concerned, reinforced their management, environmental and planning policy as well as promoting a greater environmental understanding at local level. Along the south-eastern Sicilian coast the project has been involved in the planning and management of primarily important coastal wetlands, both at the national and community level, with the restoration of Pantano Ponterio, otherwise in danger of complete abandonment. On the Maltese side, SIMBIOTIC has restored the Mediterranean bush on some areas of Gozo which until recently had been farmed and then abandoned. A preliminary joint study in the mapping and identification of local plants, animals and components of the local habitat, in the analysis of changes to the landscape and the identification of priority areas, or stepping stones, use on the migratory routes was at the bases of restoration work in the Sicilian and Maltese areas. Lastly, the project produced guidelines for territorial management and policy planning for the connectivity and conservation of the cross-border landscape.