18/06/14

18/06/2014 Minister for Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, T.D., welcomes the discovery of a rare moss previously presumed extinct in Ireland

The Minister for Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, T.D., today (June 16) announced the discovery of a rare moss previously presumed extinct in Ireland.

Waved fork-moss (Dicranum undulatum) had been presumed extinct due to loss of midland raised bog habitat but has been rediscovered on Clara Bog in County Offaly.

This is the first time the moss has been seen in Ireland since 1960 and the first ever record from Clara Bog with other previous known locations all being lost due to peat extraction.

The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has responsibility for the management of the bog and nearby visitor centre.

Minister Deenihan said: “We are delighted with this news – this is the second Irish moss which is only known from Clara Bog. Bogs such as Clara should be considered Ireland’s rainforests in miniature, due to the rich assemblage of rare moss species found on them and just like rainforest need to be protected for future generations.”

This important find was made by Dr. George Smith, Ecologist, while undertaking a preparatory visit for a moss workshop held at Clara Bog Visitor Centre.  Dr Smith stated that “This little plant is a perfect example of the biodiversity that can be lost if we fail to conserve and restore our raised bogs.  Waved fork-moss and other bog specialists can only survive on wet, intact bogs, which are rapidly vanishing from the Irish landscape.”

Minister Deenihan added: “This significant find shows that we can turn the tide of biodiversity loss through management of habitats, because nature can flourish if we lend it a helping hand.” 

ENDS

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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