Book: Orchids of the Maltese Islands - a descriptive guide

Since 2016, BINCO and Greenhouse Malta NGO initiated the Malta Biodiversity Initiative (MABIMO). MABIMO strives towards a biodiversity monitoring network for biodiversity across the Maltese islands with standardised survey protocols. This network will help to gather the necessary information to assess what species are present, how they are distributed and detect possible trends in time and space to better conserve the respective taxa and ecosystems.

MABIMO is initiated with a select number of taxonomic groups including orchids. BINCO and Greenhouse mobilize volunteers through citizen science projects to collect information on orchid data to gain insight in their current distribution across the islands and help construct and update the red list of threatened species for Malta.

The book ‘Orchids of the Maltese Islands - a descriptive guide’, written by Stephen Mifsud in collaboration with Greenhouse Malta and BINCO, is a product from this citizen science project and can be considered a valuable addition to the current knowledge on Maltese orchids. The field guide covers all species of orchids known to occur on the Maltese Islands. Besides detailed morphological descriptions and identification keys illustrated with diagnostic photographs, the species pages in the book contain information on their distribution, rarity, morphological variation, flowering period, pollinators and so on.

“Orchids of the Maltese Islands” is a must have guide for nature enthusiast and professionals alike for anybody living in or visiting the Maltese islands.

The book is available online at NHBS and BDL amongst others.

Why biological exploration is still needed in modern times

We are living in a world with a high demand for living space, a cost paid for by sacrificing parts of our natural capital. Natural ecosystems today are disappearing faster than ever before. Scientists simply do not have the resources to document all organisms in these fading regions before they go extinct. Organisms in these regions include many scientifically unknown species, undisclosed and possibly never encountered by scientists before. We can only guess what lifeforms have been irreversibly lost already. Conservation organizations have a hard time prioritizing nature to protect. Limited resources allow an effective conservation of only a few priority conservation areas. The remaining, also valuable, regions are waiting for a less fortunate future. Additionally a biodiversity knowledge gap creates uncertainty with every decision.

This story also applies to parts of Northern Mozambique. Off limits for a long time due to ongoing civil unrest, the region largely remains terra incognita in its biodiversity. As the situation normalized and the economy is gaining momentum, a growing population is rapidly affecting the natural ecosystems. The deforestation rates of miombo woodland around Lichinga, for example, are messengers for a bad time to come for local natural resources. The question for priority conservation areas in this massive region is on the table. Funded by the CEPF (Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund), RGS (Royal Geographical Society) and WWF (World Wildlife Fund) in collaboration with the Museu De História Natural de Maputo, an expedition was mounted to assess the biodiversity on the Njesi plateau, and evaluate the potential as a KBA (Key Biodiversity Area). Receiving the label of KBA would place the region within the group of globally recognized priority conservation areas that are prioritized in conservation efforts. The expedition was in close collaboration with the Rift Valley Corporation that through the LAGRI conservation initiative strives to a sustainable use of natural resources and protection of selected biodiversity hotspots in a large region north of Lichinga.

Preliminary findings of the expedition are promising. The experience of the Belgian wildlife documentary maker Pim Niesten on the BES (Biodiversity Express Survey) in 2016 to the Njesi plateau in northern Mozambique coordinated by BINCO, can be viewed here.


Start of the Njesi Plateau expedition - Mozambique

Yesterday an international expedition team coordinated by BINCO left for the Njesi Plateau, one of highest inselbergs in northern Mozambique. With little information on its biodiversity available, this expedition hopes to fill a void that will help evaluate its natural and conservation value. The expedition will visit three mountain peaks, Chitiagal, Sanga and the Njesi plateau and explore multiple taxa on each through well-established rapid assessment protocols. This expedition is sponsored by the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, Rift Valley Corporation, Royal Geographical Society and WWF Belgium.

Our new website

Continuously growing in members, collaborators and projects since 2008 we are proud to present the brand new BINCO website! Please have a look at our ongoing projects worldwide, freely available information provided in the form of BINCO reports, peer reviewed publications and the many new species described. We are always looking for new collaborations, don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions. And why we do this…? Because every species matters!

Third BINCO newsletter

If you want to receive the next newsletter, fill in your name at the bottom of the frontpage. You can also send us an email (info@binco.eu) and we’ll put you on the list. Attention: newsletter is in Dutch.

Photo Service – What species is this?

Did you find an unknown animal or plant and do you want to know what species it might be. Send an e-mail to welkesoortisdit@binco.eu and we will try to help you out with the identification of the unknown organism you found. By sending us clear photographs and a short description of the locality of the species, it will be more easy for us to carry out the identification.

Second BINCO newsletter

If you want to receive the next newsletter, fill in your name at the bottom of the front page and sign up. You can also send us an email (info@binco.eu) and we’ll put you on the list. Attention: newsletter is in Dutch

First BINCO Newsletter

We are very proud to present our first Binco newsletter. If you want to receive the next newsletter, fill in your name at the bottom of the frontpage and sign up. You can also send us an email (info@binco.eu) and we’ll put you on the list. Attention: newsletter is in Dutch