The 4th Mediterranean Plant Conservation Week (4th MPCW) was held in the city of Valencia from the 23th to the 27th of October. This biennial event, this time organised by the Centro de Investigación y Experimentación Forestal (CIEF, Generalitat Valenciana) and the Botanical Garden of the University of Valencia (BGUV), in collaboration with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) has provided a remarkable platform to discuss and learn about Mediterranean plant conservation strategies.
On this occasion, the 4th MPCW gathered an audience of more than 200 attendees from the scientific community and technicians specialised in plant conservation and restoration of Mediterranean ecosystems. Among the attendees was the LIFE medCLIFFS project team represented by Neus Nualart Dexeus, curator of the herbarium, researcher at the Barcelona City Council and deputy director of the Botanical Institute of Barcelona (IBB), Jordi López Pujol, senior scientist at IBB-CSIC, and Arnau Bosch, LIFE medCLIFFS project technician.
Throughout the week a wide range of activities were offered, from plenary sessions with experts to thematic talks. The 4th MPCW underlined the importance of preserving the unique and diverse flora found in the Mediterranean region and showcased the holistic approach to its conservation, which integrates invasive species management, ecological restoration, preservation of native plant species, environmental education and scientific outreach.
Among the many projects dedicated to the conservation of Mediterranean plants, the LIFE medCLIFFS project had the chance to participate in the presentations of the congress, which was a great opportunity to disseminate the relevance and the main objectives of the LIFE medCLIFFS project. In addition, it was possible to explain in more detail some of the actions that are being carried out within the framework of the project. This was done through two oral presentations entitled: “Modelling invasive plant invasion risk maps: applied to Mediterranean cliffs with endemic species” and “A network of LIFE medCLIFFS volunteers and observers: an efficient tool for the detection of invasive plants on the Costa Brava”. In parallel, the poster “How a LIFE project can improve floristic knowledge: new data on the distribution of allochthonous flora on the Costa Brava” was also presented. In addition, during the congress there was the opportunity to meet other specialists involved in the management of invasive plants on Mediterranean cliffs, with whom we plan to establish collaboration and information exchange networks.
Thanks to the 4th MPCW it was also possible to attend a field trip to an example of the 1240 ecosystem of the Valencian Community, in Alicante, where different management strategies of this ecosystem were observed, such as the micro-reserves and the results of the conservation plan for the Silene hifacensis. However, some individuals of invasive species such as Opuntia stricta and Agave americana were also observed in the managed areas.
We hope that this week will have a positive impact on the future of Mediterranean plant conservation. The 4th MPCW has reaffirmed our dedication to the cause and renewed our enthusiasm to continue our work with the LIFE medCLIFFS project.
Text: Arnau Bosch.