Woodland Restoration Project
|Figure 10. proportional representation of area covered by
different moss species in square 3. ( Numbers correspond to species numbers in Table 2)
|Figure 10 illustrates the proportion of the
total area covered by mosses, accounted for by individual species. The area covered by
different species was generally fairly small (Table 2),
indicating early stages in the colonization process. Substantial invertebrate communities
were present in all the mosses growing on the woodland floor.Mosses occurred at ground
level in only one other area of the project site. Moss (mainly two species, Isothecium
myosuroides and Hypnum resupinatum) occurred on the flints on the woodland
floor in square 1.
Although light levels were higher in square 4, than in square 1 (Fig.9), mosses were not
found in the ground layer in this area. It is possible that this is due to the fact that
no stones were available to act as a substrate in square 4.
Isothecium myosuroides was found growing directly on soil in square 3, indicating
that the stones are not obligatory as a substrate (Table
2). However, the moss here was completely covered in leaf litter and had the
rhododendron still been present, as in square 4, light levels would presumably be too low
for survival. The presence of stones and rocks in square 1 allows the moss to grow on a
substrate raised above the level of the leaf litter and fully exposed to whatever light is
Other plant species besides mosses have begun to colonise the bare woodland floor in
the region previously cleared of rhododendron (square 3). Seedlings of brambles, an as yet
unidentified sedge, ivy, foxgloves and bedstraw occurred in this region (Table 1). Plants
were few and far between. The density for most species was in the region of 0.05
individuals per m2. The sedge was the most common species, with a density of 0.4 individuals per m2. It was not
identified because of the juvenile size of the plants and also. without flowers, it is
often difficult to identify the species with any accuracy. (The survey was carried out in
November, when there are not even the remains of the previous years flowers left on the
plants to aid identification.) It will be identified to species level at a later date.
Although the rhododendron has been largely cleared from this area, regenerating stumps
remain and new seedlings are growing up (Plate 13). The
overall density was 0.85 rhododendron plants per m2. Average height of the plants was only 20 cm, but the potential
remains for the rhododendron to once more dominate the area if not kept in check.