CELT, the Centre for Environmental Living and Training is running three events as part of Biodiversity Week, which is focused on recording and identifying mosses, lichens and liverworts.
On Wednesday they will hold a Raheen Oakwood event with students from the ALFA project, Active Learning for Adolescents, which is based in Tuamgraney. The surveying is being held to raise awareness of this microscopic world, which is part of our biodiversity.
“Native woodlands are the richest land based habitat for biodiversity, Irelands authentic landscape is Western Atlantic temperate rainforest dominated by Oakwood, this habitat is rich in bryophytes and epiphytes (mosses, lichens, ferns, liverworts) due to the high moisture content and unique adaptability of the Oak woods through time,” Andrew St Ledger, native woodland specialist and CELT biodiversity co-ordinator outlined.
The event involves recording mosses, lichens and liverworts in Irish oak woods, with separate identification sessions using a microscope as well as manuals the results will be compiled and then shared between the three groups for comparison. The results will also be sent to the national biodiversity records centre in Waterford.
“Ireland’s oak woods are particularly rich in these species of epiphytes and bryophytes, and the theme of Biodiversity week this year is concerned with niche habitats for native species. The results will indicate how clean the air is in particular and we will compare these with two other important native oak wood sites for comparison, one in Sligo, Slish oakwood on the edge of Lough Gill, another largest freshwater lake, and one in Mayo, Old Head on the edge of the Atlantic ocean. Lichens are very unusual in that they do not fit into either plant or animal classification, as they are a marriage of a fungus (land based organism) and an algae (water based organism),” Mr St Ledger added.
Bob Wilson of Celt, biodiversity specialist, will accompany Mr St Ledger for the Clare event. The other native oak wood events taking place include an event at Old Head with students from The Holy Trinity Westport national school on Thursday, June 5, and Slish oak wood with a Sligo based youth group who aim to assist with the promotion of positive mental health through outdoor activities, connecting people and nature on June 7.