I just read over at Uncommon Ground that today is Endangered Species Day. In the spirit of the day I thought that I would share some information on endangered bryophytes.
In 2008, 95 bryophyte species (including mosses, hornworts and liverworts) were assessed to determine their threat level, habitat, and distribution. (The full report from the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) can be found here.)
The bryophytes have a detailed report that I was surprised to find on my shelf mashed among my other bryology books. I have linked to the report via googlebooks below. Looking over the report it has some really great information on bryophyte conservation in addition to the species list. They discuss the importance of bryophytes, which is critical for addressing "who cares?" questions that often surround these little plants. The answers that they highlight include: Ecological roles - water retention, peat formation, habitats for other organisms -- Pollution Indicators -- Economic and medicinal uses. Additionally large sections highlight the key habitats of bryophytes and their specific threats. They also examine these threatened species in a regional manner and discuss conservation measures that can be taken relating to bryophytes.
I am definitely going to do a cover-to-cover read of this report before my next moss walk. (Not that I have any scheduled at the moment.) I think that it will really help me to organize and clarify my reasoning and arguments for the importance of bryophytes.
Happy Endangered Species Day!