McGrigor high­lights im­por­tance of At­lantic ‘rain­for­est’

The Oban Times - - News -

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.’

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