Conservation status

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Introduction

Red lists and lists of nationally rare and scarce plants are commonly used conservation tools, used to focus conservation effort and influence policy and decision making.

Nationally rare and scarce

For some years, the BBS has periodically produced lists of nationally rare and scarce bryophytes. Nationally rare taxa in Britain (excluding Ireland) are defined as those occurring in 1–15 10 km squares, whilst nationally scarce taxa occur in 16–100 10 km squares. It can be interesting to compare lists to identify those species which are declining – and conversely, those which are increasing. The most recent lists have been published in Field Bryology, and links are given below.

In 2013, Nick Hodgetts and Neil Lockhart produced an equivalent list for Ireland, although using slightly different criteria to identify rarity. Their article also clearly explains the distinction between these lists and the more rigorous Red Lists, and clarifies the purpose of each. Both authors were also involved in the production of the first Red List for bryophytes in Ireland (see next section).

Britain (vice-counties 1-112)

Pescott, O. 2016. Revised lists of nationally rare and scarce bryophytes for Britain. Field Bryology 115: 22-30.
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Pescott, O. 2016. Revised lists of nationally rare and scarce bryophytes for Britain – spreadsheet

A spreadsheet version of this list is also available for download.

Download the spreadsheet
Preston, C. 2010. A revised list of nationally rare bryophytes. Field Bryology 100: 32-40
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Preston, C. 2006. A revised list of nationally rare bryophytes. Field Bryology 90: 22-30
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Ireland

Hodgetts, N. & Lockhart, N. 2013. Rare and scarce bryophytes of Ireland. Field Bryology 110: 12-26
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Red lists

Red Lists categorise species according to their risk of extinction, taking into account factors like population decline, range contraction, habitat loss etc. in addition to rarity. In 1964, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) was founded, and this organisation is responsible for compiling and publishing the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species – the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species. The IUCN not only endeavours to assess the threats to all species, but to repeat the assessment every few years to give a picture of whether a species is stable, declining or increasing over time. In practical terms however, it is not possible to assess every single species and there is still a place for other organisations to produce regional Red Lists of certain species groups.

The first Red List for Britain was produced in 2001; the list was updated on an ad hoc basis, until in 2011 Nick Hodgetts published a new Revised Red List of bryophytes in Britain. These Red Lists cover England, Scotland, Wales and the Isle of Man, but excludes Ireland, Northern Ireland and the Channel Islands.

BBS members have also produced Red Lists for bryophytes in both Ireland and Wales, and a European Red List was published in 2019.

Global

The IUCN website provides online access to data for all species assessed and sometimes publishes Red List books for groups of species.

Browse the IUCN website

Britain

Porley, R. 2013. England’s Rare Mosses and Liverworts: Their History, Ecology, and Conservation. ISBN 9780691158716
Hodgetts, N. 2011. A revised Red List of bryophytes in Britain. Field Bryology 103: 40-48
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Church, J.M., Hodgetts, N.G., Preston, C.D. & Stewart, N.F. 2001. British Red Data Books. Mosses and liverworts.

Available as a book, or online from the Natural History Museum.

Access online on the Natural History Museum website

Ireland

Lockhart, N., Hodgetts, N. & Holyoak D. 2012. Rare and threatened bryophytes of Ireland. ISBN 978-1905989355.

Hardback book, 656 pages

Lockhart, N., Hodgetts, N. & Holyoak D. 2012. Ireland Red List No. 8: Bryophytes

Available to download from the Irish National Parks & Wildlife website.

Access the download from the Irish National Parks & Wildlife Service website
Irish National Parks and Wildlife Service Flora Protection Order map viewer

The Flora Protection Order map viewer has details of the populations of many of the rarer bryophytes in Ireland, and was revised following the publication of the Rare and threatened bryophytes of Ireland in 2012.

Visit the Flora Protection Order map viewer

Wales

Bosanquet, S. and Dines, T. 2010 A Bryophyte Red Data List for Wales

Available to download from the Plantlife website.

Access the download from Plantlife.org

Europe

Hodgetts et al. 2019. A miniature world in decline: European Red List of Mosses, Liverworts and Hornworts.

Available to download from the IUCN portal.

Access the download from the IUCN