Some of Ireland’s smallest – but most important plants – are the subject of a new publication launched today in  Dublin.

The publication entitled “Rare and Threatened Bryophytes of Ireland”, was launched by Government Ministers Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Alex Attwood MLA, Minister for the Environment.

Bryophytes are non-flowering plants which grow in places where moisture is present. Comprising mosses and liverworts, these typically small species are important components of many of Ireland’s internationally recognised habitats such as blanket bogs. With over 800 species, Ireland is one of the most important areas of Europe for bryophytes which also make a significant contribution to the island’s green appearance.

The book focuses on rare and threatened species of bryophytes and gives information on threats and conservation priorities.  It is the latest all-Ireland Red Data Book to be jointly published since the first in 1988.

Speaking at the launch in the appropriate surroundings of Glasnevin Botanical Gardens, Minister Deenihan said “I am particularly pleased that this publication contains the first Red List of bryophytes for all of Ireland. This is an important step, fulfilling one of the fundamental commitments under ‘Actions for Biodiversity’ – Ireland’s National Biodiversity Plan and contributing to international objectives in conservation.”

Minister Attwood added, “This book is the culmination of over 15 years of extensive field research which resulted in many finds of rare species including 22 previously unknown in Ireland.   Its publication by National Museums Northern Ireland  illustrates the benefits of cross-border cooperation and places the  spotlight on an important but neglected part of Irish biodiversity for which we have special responsibility.”

Minister Deenihan concluded, “This book is undoubtedly a landmark in Irish bryology and the National Museums Northern Ireland are to be congratulated on another fine publication, to sit well with their previous works on ”Dragonflies, Butterflies and Moths” and the recently published “Natural History of Ulster”.





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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