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The Woodland Education Centre
The Heathland Restoration Project

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Ecological Surveys 1996 - 1998

Mosses on the Project Site

Mosses were becoming increasingly important on the project site in terms of abundance.

Initially, very few mosses were found on the site. These included Hypnum andoi, which was probably a relict of the original woodland cover and Brachythecium rutabulum. The presence of this latter species may indicate that the soil is currently more fertile than would be normal on an established heathland site.

Polytrichum formosum, which is characteristic of acid soils, was present in very small amounts (Figure below). However, by 1998, Polytrichum formosum had become the third most dominant species on the site and was co-dominant with Heather in section 9.

Distribution of Polytrichum formosum, 1996 -1998.

Distribution of Polytrichum formosum 1996-1998
(belt transect results only, since no
random available for 1996)

It is likely that other species of Polytrichum more characteristic of heaths (P. juniperum and P. piliferum) will eventually colonize the area.

Male 'flowers' (antheridial cups) of Polytrichum formosum, carpeting an area of the project site.  

Mosses are often an important part of a heathland flora, carpeting the areas between heather plants and in later stages growing beneath the closed canopy where the humidity is high.

They have become increasingly important on the project site.


Several other mosses characteristic of heathlands are also present. These include Campylopus paradoxus, C. pyriformis and Hypnum jutlandicum.


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Ecological Surveys 96 - 98