Forest & woodland
Lower plants specialist post
Lower plants (mosses, liverworts & lichens) are one of the main reasons why Scotland’s rainforests are recognised globally as being so unique, rare & important. Often taken for granted, lower plants play an essential role in the water cycle (regulating water flow & local microclimates); in the nutrient cycle (fix nitrogen from the air & return it via litterfall & leaching to the ecosystem); are a food source for mammals, birds, molluscs & invertebrates; provide camouflage for invertebrates; provide nesting material for birds & mammals; produce chemical compounds which can be used for dyes & medicines (including potential new treatments for BSE & leukaemia); & are beautiful to look at as well. The momentum building in support of a number of rainforest regeneration projects placed increasing pressure on the informal access to lower plant expertise currently available at a particularly critical time, hence this grant towards the employment of a dedicated specialist for Scottish projects for an initial two years.