The FAST project aims to work on the prevention and management of the introduction, spread and settlement of invasive alien species within Natura 2000 sites across the IT-MT area. This will be done through the identification and management of both invasive alien species as well as their vectors through containment and/or eradication, to limit and/or completely avoid their introduction and settlement in the EU territory, and therefore help prevent loss of biodiversity and indigenous species in identified areas across the two islands. Through this project, 14 effective restoration interventions will be carried out in identified sites disturbed by invasive alien species to protect and encourage habitat regeneration.


Left: Rhynchophorus ferrugineus, Right: Colaphellus palaestinus. Credits : Prof. David Mifsud


Project activities will be carried out within terrestrial and aquatic environments with a high cross-border character. Intervention will be carried out in four Sicilian sites within the Natura 2000 network (Riserva naturale Foce del Fiume Simeto and Lago Gornalunga, Riserva naturale Fiume Fiumefreddo, Riserva naturale Foce del Fiume Irminio e Riserva naturale Vallata del Fiume Ippari) and in three Maltese sites (L-Inħawi tal-Buskett u tal-Girgenti, L-Inħawi tax-Xlendi u tal-Wied tal-Kantra, Il-Magħluq tal-Baħar ta’ Marsaskala).


The project activities will include the identification of:

  • ≤10 Invasive Alien Species catalogued and characterized
  • 30 IAS at risk introduction
  • 15 IAS monitored in protected areas
  • 10 threatened target species and definition of the various types of restoration interventions
  • 4 target species of IAS eradicate/contained


The project’s expected results are:

  • 5 sq. km of surface areas subject to invasive alien species interception actions, their containment and recovery of the terrestrial biodiversity of the two islands in four Natura 2000 sites in Sicily and three in Malta;
  • 1,000 citizens/users trained and made aware of environmental issues and involved in monitoring actions;
  • 20 stakeholders, technicians and researchers institutional partners specifically trained for the network management of invasive alien species.


Project details 

PROJECT TITLE FAST- Fight Alien Species Transborder
DURATION November 2020 – May 2023 (30 MONTHS)


LEAD Università degli Studi di Catania – Dipartimento di Scienze Biologiche, Geologiche ed Ambientali
PARTNERS Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights – Plant Protection Directorate – Rural Affairs Department

University of Malta – Institute of Earth Systems – Division of Rural Sciences and Food Systems

Città Metropolitana di Catania – 2° dipartimento – 4° Servizio “Gestione Riserve Naturali”

Libero Consorzio Comunale di Ragusa – Settore V Pianificazione Territoriale e Sviluppo Locale – U.O. Riserve Naturali