Trees (being a primary focus) provide a fundamental contribution to effective ecosystem function; they are big, bold and of paramount importance as a high level visual indicator of the natural balance.
It is very easy to see, and to raise public passion, when threats to dominant trees occur - as evidenced by:
The Chestnut Avenue Campaign - Tooting Bec Common
The Sheffield Tree Action Group campaign to oppose the Local Authority’s program which has already removed 5,500 of Sheffield’s street trees in the last five years with another 12,000 to go over the next 20 years.
And so, it is something of a venture beyond the obvious which requires the effective consideration of that which is ‘above’ and ‘below’ the big, bold trees within an effective and sustainable eco system.
All of the functions of this system should be considered in order to properly appreciate how to enhance and sustain the arboreal element of a broader ecosystem; nutrient cycling, climate considerations, weather and human well-being benefits, water regulation etc.
Forests, woodlands, individual trees, hedgerows are all well recognised as important habitats for faunal and floral resources which directly provide vital habitat and pollinating services.
It is however the integration of the multiple functions of ‘superior’ and subordinate’ elements of the same landscape which combine to create diversity.
And so, perhaps on first consideration, the study of Bryophytes (mosses and liverworts) might seem an odd direction to take since these small plants are easily overlooked.
Many of us enjoy the bright green carpets they form on trees and boulders, but never think much more about them. However, if you take a close look (and you know what to look for) a diverse and fascinating world is revealed.
Bryophytes are a very rewarding group of plants to study, as the UK is home to over half of all Europe’s bryophyte species, and the bryophyte diversity of the south-west's woods rival the cloud forests of the tropics!
Looking forward to attending the 2-day Foundation Course: Mosses and Liverworts - an introduction to their identification at Siblyback Lake CORNWALL 7th-8th May 2019 delivered by Plantlife