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Rare and Threatened Bryophytes of Ireland

Flora / Fauna

By: Neil Lockhart (Author), Nick Hodgetts (Author), David Holyoak (Author)

638 pages, 600 colour photos, b/w photos, colour distribution maps

Blackstaff Press

Hardback | Jan 2012 | #199095 | ISBN-13: 9781905989355
Availability: In stock
NHBS Price: £24.99 $31/€28 approx

About this book

Rare and Threatened Bryophytes of Ireland gives a detailed review of the distribution, ecology and conservation status of threatened mosses and liverworts (bryophytes) in Ireland. Identification notes are provided for all of the species that are treated in detail, as well as distribution maps and photographs. Introductory chapters cover the habitats of Irish bryophytes, the history of  bryophyte recording in Ireland, background to the fieldwork behind this book and a summary of the most important areas for bryophytes in Ireland. A Red List for the entire bryophyte flora is provided. The book results from a collaborative programme of research by the National Parks and Wildlife Service in the Republic of Ireland and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. It is intended to set the Irish bryophytes in a European and global context, and to provide a scientifically based foundation for future bryophyte conservation in Ireland, as well as a platform for further studies of the Irish bryophyte flora.

This book provides results from a collaborative programme of research by National Parks and Wildlife Service in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland Environment Agency.

"Ireland is undergoing a bryological renaissance, with a keen cohort of bryologists recording and studying the mosses and liwerworts of this tremendously rich, but still underrecorded island. The sumptuous Rare and Threatened Bryophytes of Ireland is guaranteed to keep up the current momentum. It is evident from the book that Ireland has an outstanding bryophyte flora, but equally that recorders have every chance of making new discoveries or rediscovering supposed extinct species. The book results from a programme of fieldwork between 1999 and 2009 by two of the authors, Nick Hodgetts and David Holyoak, co-ordinated by the third, Neil Lockhart of the Irish National Parks and Wildlife Service. Nick and David both hail from Great Britain, but spent several months each year (mostly between spring and autumn) in camper vans as they made their separate ways through all of IreIand's vice-counties. Their fieldwork took two forms: attempts at relocating rare species at historic sites, and de novo recording in 'habitats known to be rich in rare bryophytes'.

The results are very impressive for most species, particularly those found in habitats that the authors like: Nick covered montane crags and raised bogs especially well, whilst David scrutinised numerous lake margins, metal mines and dune systems. The de novo recording resulted in many hundreds of new records for Irish vice-counties, and a good number of new species for Ireland, and was extremely successful overall. However, it is clear (and acknowledged by the authors) that winter-fruiting ephemerals were poorly covered, and the inclusion of Tortula modica as Vulnerable and Entosthodon fascicularis as Near Threatened is especially bizarre, as both are commonplace in fields and churchyards in south-eastern Ireland in late winter.

The great advantage of the programme of revisiting sites is that declines have been properly assessed, and the IUCN criteria rely very heavily on decline for small, obscure things like bryophytes. Even in a well-recorded area like Great Britain, it is difficult to know whether the lack of a record of a particular species at a site for a few decades is the result of its loss or the lack of follow-up visits. With the exception of some under-recorded species which grow at low density in unglamorous habitats such as arable fields or conifer plantations, we can be confident that the threat categories assigned to the species are accurate.

Threats to the 195 threatened and 97 Near Threatened taxa are covered in a series of detailed species accounts, along with identification, distribution, ecology and conseniation. Every taxon is illustrated by a high-quality photograph, and as the book is about rarities there are many species that are not in the Field Guide, so we can see for the first time what they look like in colour. Many accounts also include a photograph of a typical locality for the taxon concerned; The species accounts are preceded by a long and copiously illustrated introduction that indudes sections on bryophyte habitats, recording in Ireland, and Important Bryophyte Areas (IBrA). The photographs of each IBrA and typifying each habitat are absolutely stunning, and make one want to rush out into the field and visit the sites. Once one is there, the list of key taxa on each IBrA will allow one to look for the rare bryophytes without risking random collection and damage. The only slight problem is that this book really couldn't be taken into the field, as it is far too heavy (3.5 kg) and much too
beautiful to risk damaging. However as office/bedtime/coffee-table reading it is utterly inspirational."

- Sam Bosanquet, in British Wildlife volume 23, number 5, July 2012

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