On a small island such as Malta where many developers and policy makers place a large emphasis on social use and development values, which encourages recreational/industrial development, it is often hard to promote the monetary value of coastal conservation due to strong competition with the large tourism industry. An assessment of the ecological (conservation) and economic (use/development) values of four popular Maltese bathing areas (Mellieha, St. George's, Ramla and Ghajn Tuffieha Bay) was carried out by evaluating their ability to provide a number of functions. This is dependent on the environments' inherent characteristics within the context of locally applicable time and space functions. Function Analysis is an innovative technique able to provide a means for assessing changes in environmental quality of an area and evaluating the sustainability of applied management regimes. This paper is a first example of an application of the Functional Analysis approach in Malta. Local application of this technique indicates a need for additional refinement in application to coastal areas. Analysis showed that St. George's, had the lowest conservation value, Ramla and Ghajn Tuffieha bay had the highest conservation values, Mellieha Bay had high conservation value and use/development potential. In this context, conservation value is understood to reflect values of biodiversity, information / knowledge and environmental quality.
Journal of Coastal Conservation
Vol. 9 • No. 2
Vol. 9 • No. 2
Function of nature