Dr Mario Balzan
Applied Ecologist and Senior Lecturer
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 over 13 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. My PhD research has assessed how habitat management approaches at local and landscape scales can improve the conservation of biodiversity and provide multiple ecosystem services in Mediterranean social-ecological systems.
I am the coordinator of 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. My research has received funding through the Horizon 2020, ARIMNET2, the European Commission, the Malta Council for Science and Technology (MCST) and the Italian Ministry of Education, University and Research (MIUR).
I collaborate with stakeholders and practitioners from various sectors, and have acted as an expert in biodiversity and ecosystem science, urban ecology, agriculture and agri-environment, research and innovation, and science communication.
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
Post-COVID-19 green cities. The Times of Malta. 4 July 2020.
Providing nature-based solutions for landscape sustainability. Cordis EU Research Results. 4 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.