In 1909-11 Robert Lloyd Praeger brought a team of 100 European specialists from different scientific fields to map the flora, fauna, geology and archaeology of Clare Island, a small, exposed Atlantic island off the west coast. The gathering led to the publication of the path-breaking Clare Island Survey. A century later the survey was repeated as the New Survey of Clare Island (1992-2009) and both works were published extensively by the Royal Irish Academy. This volume concentrates on the flora and fungi found on the island. It details the vascular plants, bryophytes, lichens and fungi recorded during the New Survey of Clare Island. It presents a description of the likely Holocene vegetation cover and its development over the past 5000 years, and an analysis of the present vegetation using modern phytotaxonomic methods. The volume is extensively illustrated with photographs, tables, diagrams and detailed fold-out maps. The diversity of species recorded allows comparisons with the first Survey of Clare Island, and provides a baseline for assessing changes in species occurrence and distribution elsewhere as a result of climate change and further anthropomorphic interventions. It is highlighted that some of the assemblages of species on the North Atlantic island are unique and worthy of statutory protection.
Donal Synnott is the former director of the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin (1994-??2004). He is the editor of New Survey of Clare Island, Volume 7: Plants and Fungi (2012).