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May 31, 2011

Volunteers sought for Bog Woodland Survey on Lodge Bog

The Irish Peatland Conservation Council are undertaking an extensive survey of the bog woodland habitat on their reserve Lodge Bog in county Kildare. “From this survey we hope to gain more knowledge of bog woodland habitats which are an EU conservation priority and a little known face of Irish bogs” says Michael Kenny, Conservation Officer with the IPCC.  This survey will also assist with the management of this habitat for biodiversity conservation in the future.
Bog woodland habitats are listed as a priority habitat for protection under the EU Habitats Directive. In Ireland bog woodlands are associated with intact raised bogs. The habitat is rare with documented sites in Ireland covering less than 35ha.

Bog woodlands are very distinctive and typically occur in very wet parts of a raised bog, which may seem surprising given the very acidic and nutrient-poor nature of the substrate. They are dominated by birch – mostly downy birch (Betula pubescens) – with occasional willows and scattered Scots Pine. A characteristic feature is the ground cover of Sphagnum  moss species that often form deep carpets on the woodland floor.
These woodlands are important for providing vertical structure, shelter and warmth in an essentially open and exposed habitat as well providing habitats for a variety of additional plant and animal species. The trees themselves provide food and shelter for numerous invertebrates and cover for scrub and woodland birds in which to breed.
“We are looking for volunteers to assist us with the undertaking of the bog woodland survey and to participate in all aspects of the fieldwork” says Michael Kenny, Conservation Officer. “Who knows what we will discover! he added.
The bog woodlands on Lodge bog need to be surveyed and their importance to the conservation of Irish biodiversity determined. 
This Bog Woodland Habitat Survey and Volunteer Training Programme has been supported by Kildare County Council under the Community Heritage Grant Scheme 2011.