Dr Mario Balzan
I am an applied ecologist with a multidisciplinary background in environmental sciences. Through my work I seek to improve our understanding of human impacts on biodiversity and the contributions of biodiversity and ecosystem services to human well-being. I hold a PhD in agroecology and have 15 years of experience in science education and graduate training. During this time, I have held research and lecturing positions in Malta, Italy, Belgium and the United Kingdom. I currently act as Guest Editor for the journal Land and Subject Editor for the Journal of Pest Science.
I currently coordinate the ReNature Horizon 2020 project, which aims to establish a strategy to promote research and innovation for nature-based solutions that improve human well-being whilst tackling environmental challenges in Malta. During the past years, my research has been carried out as part of several European and national projects that carry out biodiversity monitoring, assess and map ecosystem services, develop the capacity to implement nature-based solutions, and assess the impacts of climate and environmental drivers on ecosystems and cultural landscapes. I have recently acted as the Coordinating Lead Author for 1st Mediterranean Experts on Climate and Environmental Change (MedECC) Assessment on current and future risks for the Mediterranean region, released in November 2020.
Advancing scientific, business and policy solutions for local and global sustainability, particularly through the management of green infrastructure and the mainstreaming of nature-based solutions; climate mitigation and impacts on terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems; understanding interactions between human and environmental systems; using context-based learning and problem-solving teaching and mentoring approaches; widening access to excellent science.
Spatio-temporal modelling of biodiversity and ecosystem services; advancing the application of ecological and environmental sciences for the sustainable intensification of management in cultural landscapes, with a focus on agricultural and urban ecosystems; nature-based solutions to societal challenges including climate change.
Media & Popular Articles
Agricultural dynamics in Malta and the Mediterranean region. MCST Plumtri. May 2021
Lecturer amongst top 2% of the world’s working scientists. MCASTLink. April 2021
11 Malta-based scientists among world’s most cited. The Times of Malta. April 2021
Post-COVID-19 green cities. The Times of Malta. July 2020.
Providing nature-based solutions for landscape sustainability. Cordis EU Research Results. December 2019.
Renaturing: Why bringing back the green can solve urban problems. MaltaToday. 30 October 2019.
Research project on agricultural biodiversity and land-use systems in the Mediterranean region. Malta Independent. 5 June 2019.
Renaturing Malta through Collaborations for Nature-based Solutions. The Nature of Cities. 7 December 2018.
Project that promotes more open spaces and gardens in towns. TVM. 13 June 2017.
Resilient Agricultural Systems. Times of Malta. 9 March 2017.