|IPA Factsheet - Garron Plateau|
Site Description The Garron plateau is the largest area of intact blanket bog in Northern Ireland. The peatland complex is comprised of a series of raised and flushed peat bog units, and a number of oligotrophic water bodies, all within an enveloping blanket bog peat mantle.
Botanical Significance Noted for vascular plants and lichens. The peatland exhibits a number of notable structural features such as large, well developed hummock and lawn complexes, pool complexes and eroding hagg complexes, in addition to quaking bogs and saddle mires. The general bog vegetation is characterised by Sphagnum mosses, ericoid dwarf-shrubs and sedges, with the composition and abundance of these components dependent on local edaphic conditions. Flat water-logged ground is characterised by the prominence of such species as Cross-leaved Heath Erica tetralix, Bog Asphodel Narthecium ossifragum and Common Cottongrass Eriophorum angustifolium, over a lush Sphagnum moss carpet, while on more freely-draining slopes Heather Calluna vulgaris, Crowberry Empetrum nigrum and Hares-tail Cottongrass Eriophorum vaginatum are more typical. The occurrence of weak flushing by the movement of water through the bog is indicated by the presence of scattered Purple Moor-grass Molinia caerulea or Bottle Sedge Carex rostrata. When this flushing is concentrated into localised runnels, the vegetation is characterised by small sedge communities, in wich species such as Carnation Sedge C. panacea, Yellow-sedge C. viridula, Glaucous Sedge C.flacca and Twany Sedge C.hostiana are prominent. The site is rich in rare and notable plants including Narrow-leaved Marsh-orchid Dactylorhiza traunsteineri, Bog Orchid Hammarbya paludos, Marsh Saxifrage Saxifraga hirculus, Few-flowered Sedge Carex pauciflora, both Bog-Sedge C. limosa and Tall Bog-Sede Carex magellanica, Parsley Fern Cryptogramma crispa, Oak fern Gymnocarpium dryopteris, Beech Fern Phegopteris connectilis, Alpine Clubmoss Diphasiastrum alpinum and the bryophytes Sphagnum imbricatum and S. fuscum.
General Habitat Description Several types of upland and base-poor lakes occur on the plateau. The most common lake types are characterised either by the association of Yellow Water-lily Nuphar lutea with White Water-lily Nymphea alba, or by an association in wich water Lobelia Lobelia dortmanna is prominent.
Conservation Issues Natural Euthropic Lake: Encouragement the maintenance of water quality through the control of pollution and artificial enrichment. Management of water levels to maintain the most favourable water depths throughout the year for the plant and animas species present Maintenance of low intensity agriculture to ensure the disturbance to the waters, bed and shor of the lakes and their wildlife. Recognise the important economic and social roles of fishing and welcomes sustainable fishery management. Woodland: Avoiding disturbance so the woodland can become more mature Encourage the retention of dead wood both on the woodland floor and still standing in the canopy. Dead wood is a very important habitat for some of the less conspicuous woodland species, such as fungi and invertebrates Encourage regeneration of woodland and discourage damage to trees and shrubs through the control of grazing. Where necessary, encourage the blocking of drains to prevent the wood from drying out. Purple Moor-grass and rush pastures: Encourage low intensity grazing and cutting for hay followed by light aftermath cattle grazing to contribute to the conservation and enhacement of the grassland Maintainance of the diversity and quality of the species-rich grassland (no application of fertiliser, slurry or herbicide to the site) Fern and Swamps: Where necessary, encourage the blocking of drains to prevent the wood from drying out. Encouragement the maintenance of water quality through the control of pollution and artificial enrichment Where feasible, encourage the grazing of fen and swamp although overgrazing should be avoided as the wet soils are particularly susceptible to poaching.