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Ireland’s Fabulous Fens


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At Wetland Surveys Ireland and Foss Environmental Consulting we have been surveying, studying and researching fen habitats throughout Ireland for over twenty years. We have recently developed a story map to share some of our fascination with these wonderful Irish wetlands. The map is a compilation of stunning images taken from Irish fens giving you an insight into this lesser known and rarely seen part of the Irish landscape.

Fens are a unique type of peatland that form an important part of the Irish landscape. They help regulate and clean our water supply, support a rich variety of wild plants and animals, and can even tell us about our past history. With so much in their favour, it is surprising that fens are one of the least studied and lesser known Irish habitats.

The story map brings you on an informative tour focusing on four main themes;

·      Background to fen habitats where you can learn of their origin, development, and ecology

·      Biodiversity value of fens and the various plant and animal species they support

·      The importance of conserving Irish Fens

·      Fen sites to visit in your locality many of which are open to the public with various facilities


Ireland’s Fabulous Fens story map was created by Dr Peter Foss as part of the Map of Irish Wetlands project. To learn more about Irish fens and see the spectacular images click on the following link:

http://bit.ly/IrishFens


Footnote:

Distribution map of fens in Ireland based on data help in the Map of Irish Wetlands.

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Additional information on the abundance of the different known and potential fen types in Ireland based on data help within the Map of Irish Wetlands.

Fen type & Number of known and potential sites identified in the Map of Irish Wetlands:

  • Alkaline fen  659
  • Cladium fen  196
  • Transition Mire 541
  • Poor Fen 643
  • Calcareous springs 222
  • Non-Calcareous springs 45


(Note: a fen site can contain more than one fen type)

Information for the wetlands included in the story map comes from information held in the Map of Irish Wetlands. The Map of Irish Wetlands has been created by Dr Peter Foss and Dr Patrick Crushell and shows the location of more than 12,600 wetland sites in Ireland. The map has been developed and made available to the public free of charge.

If you would like to visit some other wetland you can check out the story map Wetlands to Visit Around Ireland. The story map brings you on an informative tour of 40 wetlands around Ireland where you can learn more about these fascinating habitats.

Link to 'Wetlands to Visit Around Ireland' story map:

http://arcg.is/2kWtYY8


Discover Ramsar Wetlands in the Republic of Ireland


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The story map brings you on an informative tour of 45 designated Ramsar sites in the Republic of Ireland. The Ramsar Convention entered into force in Ireland on 15 March 1985. Since then Ireland has designated 45 sites as Wetlands of International Importance (Ramsar Sites), with a surface area of 66,994 hectares. This intergovernmental treaty embodies the commitments of its member countries to maintain the ecological character of their Wetlands of International Importance and to plan for the “wise use”, or sustainable use, of all of the wetlands in their territories.

This information tour of the designated Ramsar sites around Ireland includes map location information, a brief summary of species and habitats of interest that resulted in the Ramsar designation, and information on whether sites are open to visitors.

The Ramsar Wetlands in the Republic of Ireland story map was created by Dr Peter Foss and Dr Patrick Crushell from information on these wetlands included in the Map of Irish Wetlands, which shows the location of more than 12,600 wetland sites in Ireland. The map and the latest story map have been developed and made available to the public free of charge without the assistance of any public funding.

According to Dr.  Foss “The Irish Ramsar sites represent some of the finest wetland in the country and a spectrum of the different wetland types that occur in Ireland. They are indispensable for the countless benefits or “ecosystem services” that they provide humanity, ranging from freshwater supply, food and building materials, biodiversity, flood control, groundwater recharge, and climate change mitigation.”

So if you would like to learn more about Ireland’s Ramsar wetlands, all you have to do to access the story map is go to the link shown below:

http://arcg.is/2tPjHAB

Footnote:

Information for the story map comes from information held in the Map of Irish Wetlands. The Map of Irish Wetlands has been created by Dr Peter Foss and Dr Patrick Crushell and shows the location of more than 12,600 wetland sites in Ireland. The map has been developed and made available to the public free of charge.

If you would like to visit some other wetland you can check out the story map Wetlands to Visit Around Ireland. The story map brings you on an informative tour of 40 wetlands around Ireland where you can learn more about these fascinating habitats.

Links to ‘Wetlands to Visit Around Ireland' story map:

http://arcg.is/2kWtYY8


Take the Reenagross Woodland Park Tour

Would you like to visit and learn more about Reenagross Woodland Park, Kenmare? The new story map produced by Wetland Surveys Ireland and Foss Environmental Consulting brings you on an informative tour of the park where you can learn more about the fascinating estuarine and woodland habitats and wildlife that you can see there.


The park is a wooded peninsula set within the beautiful landscape of Kenmare Bay, Co. Kerry. The Reenagross Woodland Park has over 3km of walking trails, along with a diverse range of habitats that are home to a wide variety of plants and animals and places of interest. The park is actively managed by Kenmare Tidy Towns as a place where people can enjoy nature, take a walk, and learn about the rich wildlife of the area. Kenmare Tidy Towns have undertaken numerous projects to enhance the value of the woodland for wildlife and to manage the park for visitors. You will learn more about these topics during this tour.

The park has a variety of visitor facilities including paths, seating, information signs, that will help you enjoy a visit to this magical place, and learn more about the park, as well as the habitats, wildlife and management work being undertaken by Kenmare Tidy Towns to enhance the biodiversity of this oak woodland.

The story map includes a map of the walking trails at Reenagross, location information on habitats of interest, a brief summary of what you can discover at the site, a summary of habitat and species protection work that has been undertaken, and a link to further information, opening times and much more.

According to Dr.  Crushell “Kenmare Tidy Towns manage this wonderful place, and have invested significant resources and voluntary effort in making the site open to the public and allowing anyone to learn more about this fascinating place and its wildlife and biodiversity”.

Kenmare Tidy Towns wish to thanks The Heritage Council for funding to develop this story map.

So if you would like to learn more about Reenagross Woodland Park, all you have to do to access the story map is go to the link shown below:

http://arcg.is/2mOk9ZL


Footnote:

Information for the Reenagross Woodland story map comes from information held in the Map of Irish Wetlands. The Map of Irish Wetlands has been created by Dr Peter Foss and Dr Patrick Crushell and shows the location of more than 12,600 wetland sites in Ireland. The map has been developed and made available to the public free of charge.

If you would like to visit some other wetland you can check out the story map Wetlands to Visit Around Ireland. The story map brings you on an informative tour of 40 wetlands around Ireland where you can learn more about these fascinating habitats.

Link to 'Wetlands to Visit Around Ireland' story map:

http://arcg.is/2kWtYY8

For further Information or story maps about wildlife heritage sites, check out the websites below:

WetlandSurveysIreland.com; Tel: 064 6642524; E: info@wetlandSurveysIreland.com

Links to Map of Irish Wetlands:  WetlandSurveysIreland.com or FossEnvironmentalConsulting.com

Killaun Bog, Offaly

Took a walk around the Killaun Fen and Bog nature reserve near Birr in Offaly last week. Been a few years since I was there (rather not count) and have to say the place is looking as good as ever. It’s a great place to go to see alkaline fen (with Carex lepidocarpa (Long stalked yellow-sedge) and Schoenus nigricans (Black bog rush)), bog woodland dominated by birch and raised bog habitats all on a comfortable walk around the boardwalk through the site. 

Remember if you want to visit this or other wetlands around the country... you'll find information on location etc in the "Wetlands to Visit Around Ireland" story map at http://arcg.is/2kWtYY8

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Get Involved and Celebrate National Heritage Week

Each year, during the last week of August (19-27 August), many national and hundreds of local community organisations participate by organising events throughout the country as part of National Heritage Week. Many of the events that take place during the week are free. Heritage Week highlights the abundance of great work that is carried out in all communities in Ireland to preserve and promote awareness of our natural, built and cultural heritage.

Even if you cannot make it to one of the organised events, you can still ‘remotely visit’ and learn more about some great wetland heritage sites around Ireland by taking one of the story map tours that Wetland Surveys Ireland and Foss Environmental Consulting have prepared for:

Wetlands to visit around Ireland

Link at http://arcg.is/2kWtYY8

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or

Bohernabreena and the Glenasmole Valley Tour

Link at http://arcg.is/2oxurSK

 

Details of events throughout Ireland for National Heritage Week can be found on the official website for the week here.

So don't miss your chance to celebrate and take part in National Heritage Week.

Cabragh Wetlands Visit

Took a visit to the Cabragh Wetlands near Thurles last thursday... the reedswamp and marsh areas looking their best at the moment. Loved the owl next box installed in the middle of the wetlands which has occupants every year. Remember if you want to visit this site or other wetlands around the country... you'll find information on location etc in the "Wetlands to Visit Around Ireland" story map at http://arcg.is/2kWtYY8

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Guerilla Gardening Anyone?

Guerilla gardening is the act of gardening on land that the gardeners do not have the legal rights to cultivate, such as abandoned sites, areas that are not being cared for, or private property.

And it’s a trend that has been catching on more and more in Berlin in the last few years. With almost 500,000 street trees (a number which does not include the many trees in parks, private gardens and grounds) and grassy verges there is plenty of scope for plots of land to take over.

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Each street tree tends to have an open plot of soil, some 2m by 3m in size, though plots as big as 3m x 4m are not uncommon. Once trees are planted by the local municipalities, the soil plots they occur on tend to have little more done to them. An annual strimmer cut, the removal of leaves and litter in the autumn, and that’s about it. In their “natural” state the plots tend to be bare soil, devoid of much else bar a few grasses and weeds, and perhaps some dog poo (cleaning up after your pet is an issue here also).

But once an enthusiastic gardener, local shops or restaurants, office, or a “green” minded person takes over care of a plot (or two), the resulting green haven created along a street can be impressive, often reflecting a gardeners personality.

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So from as little as an apple tree planted in a grassy verge, to a more elaborate “takeover” you can find mini vegetable gardens, quirky themed gardens, lush planting, all of which add plant biodiversity and new mini habitats to the street. And of course they look so much better than a patch of bare soil, and help regulate summer heat. The selection of images shown here come from street tree plots in one district of Berlin… Schoeneberg.

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Let’s hope the trend spreads, as guerilla gardening is a local biodiversity enhancement movement that we should all support!    

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Spring on Crete

Two years ago I visited Crete in October, and although the autumn is perhaps not the best time for floral displays on Crete, it convinced me to make a spring trip at some future date. In 2017 I visited the western end of the island during the May and all I can say is that the island deserves its reputation as a haven for botanists and plant lovers. The entire island appears to be in bloom … simply flowers everywhere… and the hum of bees is always with you. 

You can see some photographs from my trip in the Spring on Crete 2017 folder in my gallery. 

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Mires and Peatlands of Europe - Status, distribution and conservation

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The International Mire Conservation Group (IMCG) has just published a new book - which provides for the first time - a comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the mires and peatlands in biogeographic Europe. 

Written by 134 authors, including the Republic of Ireland contribution by Peter Foss and Catherine O’Connell of the IPCC, the book describes mire and peatland types, extent, distribution, use, conservation and restoration individually for each country and integrated for the entire continent. Complemented by a multitude of maps and photographs, the book offers and impressive and colourful journey full of inspiring historical context and fascinating details. 

Details:

Mires and peatlands of Europe. Status, distribution and conservation. Edited by Hans Joosten, Franziska Tanneberger & Asbjørn Moen. With contributions of 134 authors. 781 pages, 205 figures, 218 tables, 112 colour photos, 21x28cm, c. 2.5 kg, bound, English. Price: €94.00. 

Order your copies directly from the publisher: mail@schweizerbart.de or order on-line from their website

Publishers Synopsis:

This book provides the first comprehensive and up-to-date overview of mires and peatlands in biogeographic Europe. Authored by 134 mire specialists, the extensive volume describes mire and peatland types, terms, extent, distribution, use, conservation, and restoration, individually for each European country and in an integrated manner for the entire continent.

 The descriptions are complemented by a multitude of maps and photographs, the book offers an impressive and colourful journey, full of surprising historical context and fascinating details, while appreciating the core principles and unifying concepts of mire science.

The European continent features an impressive variety of mires and peatlands. Polygon, palsa, and aapa mires, concentric and eccentric bogs, spring and percolation fens, coastal marshes, blanket bogs, saline fens, acid, alkaline, nutrient poor, nutrient rich: the peatlands of Europe represent unique ecosystem biodiversity and harbour a large treasure of flora and fauna typical of peat forming environments.

Europe is also the continent with the longest history, the highest intensity, and the largest variety of peatland use, and as a consequence it has the highest proportion of degraded peatlands worldwide. Peatland science and technology developed in parallel to exploitation and it is therefore not surprising that almost all modern peatland terms and concepts originated and matured in Europe. 

Their massive degradation also kindled the desire to protect these beautiful landscapes, full of peculiar wildlife. In recent decades attention has widened to include additional vital ecosystem services that natural and restored peatlands provide. Already the first scientific book on peatlands (Schoockius 1658) contained a chapter on restoration. Yet, only now there is a rising awareness of the necessity to conserve and restore mires and peatlands in order to avoid adverse environmental and economic effects.

National Award for Glenasmole Valley Story Map

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The recently produced Bohernabreena Reservoir and Glenasmole Valley - A wildlife and wilderness amenity close to Dublin City for you to explore - story map created by Peter Foss in conjunction with Wetland Surveys Ireland has received the runner up award from ESRI Ireland in its the national 2017 Maps Make Sense Competition. The prize is a free trip to the GIS Esri UK Conference in London, on May 16th

This Story Map is littered with striking images and useful local information about the area presented through the medium of a Cascade Story Map. Peter has a long association and fascination in this location and its wildlife which he has visited for over 30 years. The reservoir lakes occurs on the outskirts of Dublin at the foot of the Wicklow Mountains. 


“A picture tells a thousand words and this entry makes very effective use of beautiful photographs to entice the user into exploring a little-known area. The photographs lead the user to the interactive map and allow them to put spatial context on the photographic material as well, of course, as being a practical tool to help when they visit the area.” Eamonn Doyle, Esri Ireland.

The tour provides information on places of interest within the valley, its wildlife and the wetland and terrestrial habitats that occur there. The map aim of the project is to allow visitors to appreciate and learn about the unique value of the wildlife and habitats of this designated EU Special Area of Conservation and make use of its visitor and amenity facilities. The map is based on information held in the Map of Irish Wetlands.

Footnote:

The Bohernabreena Reservoir and Glenasmole Valley story map can be viewed on your smartphone, tablet or pc.

Bohernabreena Reservoir and Glenasmole Valley story map link: http://arcg.is/2oxurSK

Further information on the Maps Make Sense 2017 competition can be found in the ESRI website on - http://bit.ly/2pfztUW

© Peter Foss 2012