Arable land has a distinctive bryophyte flora, which has often been neglected in the past. Harold Whitehouse (1917-2000) took a keen interest in arable bryophytes from the late 1950s. He often astonished bryologists on BBS excursions to rich areas of the north and west by examining the local arable fields. Few other bryologists were so keen on the arable habitat, with the result that at the start of the 21 century we had little idea of how its bryophyte flora was changing.
Ron Porley reviewed the state of knowledge in 2000 and proposed a nationwide survey of bryophytes on arable land. The BBS Conservation and Recording Committee endorsed his proposals, a steering group was formed and SBAL took shape during the winter and spring of 2001/2002.
SBAL set up its own website for the duration of the project, and this was later retained within the main BBS website. With the launch of the new website in 2021, it was decided to archive the full SBAL website, but to retain useful resources and links. If you require any information from the original SBAL website, please contact the website editors by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.