McGrigor highlights importance of Atlantic ‘rainforest’
HIGHLANDS and Islands MSP Jamie McGrigor has emphasised the environmental and economical importance of Scotland’s ‘Celtic rainforest’ – the woodland found along Scotland’s Atlantic coast.
The Conservative MSP was speaking in a member’s debate on the subject on December 5, at the Scottish Parliament, initiated by Argyll and Bute MSP Mike Russell.
Mr McGrigor said: ‘As Plantlife Scotland suggests, the Celtic rainforest – that is the temperate woodland found along Scotland’s Atlantic coast and based on sessile oak, downy birch and hazel – is often overlooked.
‘Indeed I suspect a number of members were surprised to hear Scotland does have its own rainforests, albeit ones which are certainly not tropical. But they are an important and globally-rare natural resource and are valuable for the diversity of species they support, including the rare mosses, liverworts and lichens to which Mike Russell has referred.’
Mr McGrigor also mentioned that in particular, Knapdale Forest in Argyll contains 25 per cent of Britain’s entire moss species.
He added: ‘I hope we can encourage more lichenologists and lovers of rare plant species to visit out Celtic rainforest as this extra wildlife tourism would be a welcome boost to the local economy.
‘I welcome the efforts of organisations to educate our young people about the forests in their communities and would encourage constituents to consider supporting schemes such as the Flora Guardian, where individuals can volunteer to help monitor and conserve some of the special plants within our woodlands.’