<em>We begin a new series of articles by our environmental blogger Evarist Caselles, to talk about the history of the most important wetlands of the Valencian Community. These are areas of great ecological wealth that have been despised and overexploited for years, but which in recent years, often thanks to citizen mobilisation, have achieved the conservation and respect they deserve. The Pego-Oliva Marsh, halfway between Valencia and Alicante, will be the first to undergo this historical x-ray.</em>
<em>Changes and new ways of understanding urban customs are the key to the sustainable development of large cities and, in the case of our city, the agricultural spirit of the citizens has been making a strong comeback in recent years. Thus, urban orchards are positioned as an alternative to asphalt that, thanks to citizen mobilisation, is being consolidated in the different neighbourhoods of Valencia, even in the historic centre of the city, as is the case of the botja orchard, which has become a new green space in which to build community and connect with our culture and our land.</em>
<em>The Cañada de Trilles in Godella, popularly known as the Torre del Pirata, is a place of great environmental value for its characteristic Mediterranean landscape, its flora and fauna, and a regular place for the inhabitants of Godella to enjoy and connect with nature. It is another key element in the green belt surrounding the city of Valencia, which is now in the spotlight due to the possible urbanisation of the enclave, which has sparked <a href="https://www.change.org/p/paremos-la-modificaci%C3%B3n-del-pgou-preservemos-la-calidad-ambiental-de-nuestro-pueblo">numerous mobilisations</a> and projects to enhance its ecological value.</em>
<em>This week we offer an in-depth interview with Montserrat Martínez, researcher and professor at the University of Salamanca, an institution which hosts the researching group on Biodiversity, systematics and vascular plants and fungi preservation which Montserrat leads. Scientist and technical director of the Herbarium and vegetal DNA Biobank Service, her professional career is marked by commitment, teamwork and persistence. Today she will share her career path, travels and other stories with us. Meet our botanist of the month. </em>
This July we are going with a young botanist full of enthusiasm to continue learning and making her way among plants. Anna is a good example of how a positive contact with botany during her studies and subsequent enriching experiences in different centres can turn curiosity and interest into dedication and a professional path. She focuses her work on the satisfaction of collaborating in the conservation of species, but also on the good fortune of being able to be in the midst of nature while working. We went out into the field with her and talked a bit about challenges, illusions and a lot of patience.
<p>Exploring nearby caves, searching for new populations and assessing its reproductive capacity and genetic diversity are the main topics of the latest research project conducted by the Botanical Garden of the University of València in order to save this endangered rupicolous species. This Mediterranean endemism only grows in a specific area in the Sierra de Gádor. What are their main threats and what can be done to prevent its extinction? Jaime Güemes, director of the Botanical Garden, and Anna Nebot, botanists, will tell us everything about it in this article.</p>
In today’s society, there is a need of looking for new ways to inhabit cities, reinventing time, and modifying spaces that bring us closer to nature. Urban horticulture adds the pleasure of seeing the development and plants’ life cycles, in addition to the diversity of organisms created in an orchard <em>in situ</em>. The biodiversity generated from plants, insects, or birds in these urban ecosystems can significantly modify a city’s environment and raise people’s level of satisfaction. They become an ideal and potential laboratory for different uses, in addition to a great therapy against virtual reality. Now more than ever, we wonder what really matters and we discover that small things do.
<p>Our land, its landscape and plants seduced botanist Jaume X. Soler, born in the Marina Alta region, from a very young age. This passion soon turned into a vocational profession. He has worked in many different fields such as agriculture, forest management, environmental restoration, preservation, cartography or scientific dissemination. Quite an eclectic career marked by his experience in viticultural research and production. This kind of knowledge allows him to spend his time doing what he likes the most: floristics, taxonomy and sharing his expertise with other citizens.</p>
The plant world's great diversity awakened the vocation of our botanist of the month, Belén Albertos. Instability and perseverance define the career of this bryophytes specialist, who works for its conservation. A rather complex task, given that due to their small size and lack of funding, –although playing a crucial role in ecosystems– mosses are generally little known to the public and science. Travels, gardens, and art are other passions of this researcher and professor at the Universitat de València. She considers curiosity to be the teaching cornerstone.
<p><em>A technique that harnesses the power of dye plants to bring soft tones to our hair, with which we can fade the dreaded grey hair but also restore lost vitality and shine, thanks to the nutrients that accompany them. A new post on sustainable lifestyle and plants from our blogger Baladre.</em></p>
<p><em>Darwin and Mendel would have been fascinated by the precision</em> <em>of the evolutionary biology of this century, especially when it comes to answering the questions that underpin the complex evolutionary processes of organisms. Once again, plants are going to guide us to an amazing genomic journey that led to conclusions which would have been unthinkable twenty years ago. </em></p>
<em>As a starting point for a new series of articles on the wetlands of the Valencian Community, Evarist Caselles, our environmental blogger, talks to Enric Amer to reflect on these wetlands and, as one of the main activists at the forefront of the conservation of the Almenara Marsh, on the construction of a dam to improve its river dynamics.</em>
<p><em>On the 12<sup>th</sup> of February, to commemorate Charles Darwin’s birthday in 1809, Darwin Day is celebrated all around the world. The aim of it is to highlight the importance of his contributions to the advancement of knowledge and, specially, to the development of the theory of biological evolution by means of natural selection. Although his research about finches, barnacles or large vertebrate fossils may be better known, he also studied in detail plant diversity and adaptation, which were essential for the development of his work on The Origin of Species. </em></p>
Fire ecology in Mediterranean ecosystems is Susana Gómez’s field of work, our botanist of the month. This researcher and university professor from Cadiz studies fire as an evolutionary force in plants, but also the imbalances in the natural regime of fires. Her antidote to it? To promote the biodiversity of the territory in order to increase the sustainability and resilience of our ecosystems, especially in the climate change context we are living in. For this reason, we invite her to participate along with other specialists in the talk called <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMage7I57kE">Incendis forestals, comuns, però ¿evitables?</a> from the UV Jardí Botànic cycle Botànica des del sofà<em>,</em> highly recommended and available online. But today, February 11, the day of the science’s woman and girl, we in-depth interview this restless scientist, a travel lover who discovered her goal to become a botanist in Chile, Quillota Valley. We hope she will inspire our future women scientists.