Small Woodland Owners' Group

Dorset moss!

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Postby tracy » Mon Nov 23, 2009 10:52 am

Ancient moss returns to Dorset forest

Restoration of the wetlands in Wareham Forest is bearing fruit in the form of the

smelly moss, Splachnum ampullaceum - last seen in Dorset almost 50 years ago.

The moss was thought to have died out because of habitat loss when land was

drained. Now the return of cattle to the wetlands has provided a rich environment,

perfect for this ancient plant, which grows on cow pats preserved under the acidic

heathland pools.

The reappearance of this plant is a positive sign that the wetlands are regenerating.

It will be a valuable source of food to other creatures, particularly the hornet robberfly,

which eats the dung beetles that feast on the dung-and-moss mixture.

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