SCA has made one of the northern most discoveries in Sweden of Neckera pennata. This rare moss was found in SCA’s forest in Västerbotten during a meeting between SCA’s conservation specialists and conservation value inventory-takers.

"Our first find of Neckera pennata was made in an existing and protected key habitat. But we then made another find in an adjacent stand with slightly lower conservation value. Our find is one of the northernmost finds in Sweden, which makes it particularly interesting," says Andreas Renöfält, one of SCA's forest ecologists.

"I reported the find in the Artportalen database and was told that this was the first find in Åsele Lapland," says Ulf Hallin, SCA's conservation specialist in Västerbotten.

Increased expertise

The discovery was made during a calibration meeting between SCA's conservation specialists and conservation value inventory-takers. As part of these meetings, participants practice applying SCA's methods used in conservation value assessments so everyone can identify and confine forests with high conservation value in a uniform and systematic manner.

"It was great fun to see and learn to recognize Neckera pennata, which is an endangered species that many of us had never seen. It was particularly fun to find it in an area where it was not expected to grow, says Andreas Renöfält. By learning to recognize the moss, we have increased our expertise in identifying sensitive habitats worthy of protection as the moss is a "signal species". This means it signals an environment that is home to many other, often demanding, species. Knowledge about species and ecosystems is the single most important factor if we are to manage forests in a sustainable manner and preserve biodiversity."

Show the right conservation

Neckera pennata is both rare and endangered and is therefore categorized as "vulnerable" on the Red List*. It has been found in about 130 locations, mainly from southern Småland up to Ångermanland. However, recent research shows that it was probably more prevalent but that it is continuing to decline. It thrives in moderately damp locations in multi-layered spruce stands of varying ages with some aspen or hardwood trees.

"Neckera pennata grows at some distance from the ground on the trunks of older aspens and wants neither too much nor too little sunlight. Because of its very specific needs, it requires more than general consideration measures if it is to survive. Thanks to our finds we can now show the moss the consideration it needs to survive forthcoming forestry operations. We will therefore leave all aspens untouched and trees with Neckera pennata on their trucks will also have plenty of surrounding trees to provide shade," says Andreas.

* Red listing is a classification of species based on an assessment of their risk of extinction. The aim is to survey and assess the situation and status of species, the risk they run of being undermined or of extinction, and what measures are required to improve their situation. The Red listing is handle by the Swedish Species Information Centre and determined by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency.

Published 8/27/2018