Discover Green Spaces and Wildlife in Berlin

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Over 2500 open green areas occur in Berlin - in all shapes and sizes - some manicured, some managed with nature in mind, and others allowed to run wild, many since the war. From small to large parks, dozens of lakes, graveyards, 161 square kilometers of forest areas, extensive water ways, nature reserves and abandoned railway lines. These open areas are cherished as a green lung by Berlin's inhabitants - both human and the wildlife kind.

This story map provides a tour of some open and green spaces in and around Berlin, Germany. The story map provides background information on 35 open spaces, parks and nature reserves in and around Berlin and the habitats and wildlife to be found there. The story map is designed to allow people to locate the parks and visit them to appreciate the park and its wildlife. Links are provided to selected sources of further information and groups in Berlin who organise excursion and events at some of these wildlife areas and nature reserves or protected parks.

Link to story map: http://arcg.is/2nJKysk

Bohernabreena Reservoir and Glenasmole Valley Tour

One of my favourite places to visit in the Dublin area is the Glenasmole valley, and more particularly the Bohernabreena Reservoir in south county Dublin, located just 5 km from Tallaght village. The reservoirs and public amenity areas in the valley are managed by South Dublin County Council. I have been visiting the place since the 1970’s and decided it was time to let some others in on some of the secrets of this hidden gem at the foothills of the Dublin mountains. So to celebrate this special area of conservation I have created a short interactive online story map about the glen and its history, the habitats and wildlife that occur there, and other information that people might find interesting. 

A link to this freely available story map is here. I hope you enjoy the tour. 



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

Story map link: http://arcg.is/2oxurSK 

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.

Witch’s Brooms

Witch's Brooms are masses of densely branched small twigs found amongst the branches of trees - here on birch. They can be caused by various parasites including the fungus Taphrina betulina which affects Birch trees.

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Zygogomium ericetorum on blanket bog

Without a doubt, not the most attractive of “species” on blanket bog, but none the less very important … is the lowly algal jelly layer composed of a variety of algae collectively called Zygogonium ericetorum. It occurs in waterlogged hollows and lawns as well as pool areas on blanket bogs and forms a 3-5cm deep layer of slimy jelly in the wetter times of the year. On blanket bog a special vegetation type (sub-association) exits where Zygogonium is a character species. It is reported that the jelly layer contains some 60 algal species.

In winter it squeezes out from under your boots as you walk over the bog as shown in the photos. In the summer the algal layer dries out and produces a thin shiny layer over the bog surface. When you walk on it, it sound like you are walking on cornflakes. The thin papery dry algal layer helps keep the underlying peat moist by reducing the rate of water evaporation from the bog surface. Natural cling film for a blanket bog.

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© Peter Foss 2012