RL3 – Atlantic Woodland


The West Coast of Scotland, being wet and relatively warm all year thanks to the influence of the Atlantic, is home to Celtic Rainforest (so-named because it is also found on the west coast of Ireland and other ocean-facing coasts of North-West Europe).

Tropical Rainforest is well-known, but coastal Temperate regions of the world also have rainforests.

Atlantic oakwoods (sometimes lacking oaks altogether and consisting solely of low-growing stands of hazel and birch which can survive the worst of the gales) contain a profusion of mosses, liverworts and lichens which form dense, diverse communities that completely cover tree bark, rocks, boulder slopes and deeply incised ravines: the result of recent glaciations. Sculptural ferns rise up above these rich tapestries of tiny plants. In Autumn fungi add splashes of colour to the infinitely varied shades of green.

Hiding in obscure remote places, these are places that will enchant you. The “veil” is thin here – there is a sense of immanence.

Some of the spore-bearing plants are so rare that they are only found in Scotland and nowhere else on earth.

We obviously need to include such amazing habitats onto our bioregional RL (resilient land) map. Plantlife Scotland have produced an excellent map featuring the Atlantic woodlands as a series of 7 “West Scotland Important Plant areas”. The blue areas are the core existing areas and the green areas are adjacent zones of opportunity which the woodlands could expand into.

About edwardtyler

I live in Kintyre, the long peninsula acting as a natural breakwater for the Firth of Clyde, west of Glasgow. A Permaculture and Transition practitioner, I am working with fellow community activists to co-create a resilient and vibrant local bioregion.

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