Conserving Scotland's biodiversity
Plantlife Scotland is delighted to be supporting High Heels and Horse Hair and their TRANSPLANTED project.
Plants and fungi are fundamental to all our lives. Fungi are the great dustbins of the natural world and remove excess plant material. Plants provide oxygen and clean water. What’s more they clothe, feed and shelter us. And they inspire us and calm us. We couldn’t survive with out plants. And ironically, the great diversity of plants and fungi that we are surrounded by in Scotland can’t survive without us.
Scotland is special. We all know that! Why is Scotland special? It’s special because of our geographic locations between the warm wet Atlantic and the cold, drier European continent. It’s also special because of our astonishingly varied geology. The net result of this are our landscapes where unique communities of species now find their home.
There is no where else in the world where you find mountain tops that are home to arctic specialities such as arctic bearberry and Norwegian mugwort, as well as home to alpine beauties such as alpine gentian and alpine lady’s mantle. If you go into a woodland ravine in Argyll you find as many species there as you would in the equivalent sized space of a tropical rainforest. It’s not called the Celtic rainforest for nothing. Visit the machair and our coastal grasslands where the diversity of wild flowers changes colours through the seasons and where specialities such as hebridean spotted orchid and Irish lady’s tresses find their home. And our biodiversity doesn’t stop at the coast – Scotland is home to the world’s biggest flame shell reef, and extensive maerl beds, a coral seaweed that creates beautiful white beaches on Skye for example.
So I encourage you all to get out there and have a look. Visit our celtic rainforests, see if you can find a filmy fern or a tree lungwort. Climb one of our mountains and look for purple saxifrage as the snow melts and frizzled crisp moss around snow patches. Wander through a Caledonian pinewood and spot twinflower or one flowered wintergreen. Go by yourself, use one of our walk leaflets or come along with us!
Enjoy what we have today on a walk or from your armchair. Help us to act now to ensure that future generations can enjoy the same pleasures. Talk about wild plants to your friends and neighbours, encourage them to come to the next concert, join Plantlife to bolster our points when we talk to politicians who think that people don’t care about plants. We all do but sometimes we need to shout a bit louder.
TRANSPLANTED does more than shout. It celebrates wild plants, it evokes their spirits and it engages our ears as well as our eyes. So – a big thank you to Alice and Sonia who thought this fantastic idea up. I hope you are as inspired by the project as I am and that you also go away determined to do your bit for Scotland’s plants and fungi.
Deobrah Long is Head of Plantlife Scotland, leading the team in Scotland to deliver conservation of native plants and fungi across Scotland. Having trained as a palaeoecologist, she uses her knowledge of past environments to find innovative and practical ways forward to halt the ongoing loss of biodiversity in Scotland.
In October and November this year she is taking a sabbatical to get involved in the conservation of medicinal plants in Nepal. Working with the Ethnobotanical Society of Nepal, she'll be visiting the Dolpo, Rasuwa and Dhading regions as well as working in Kathmandu with the society’s staff and students. You can read her blog here.
Images: Trooping Crumble Fungi & Machair flora (c) Laurie Campbell