Why are they important?

Bryophytes are needed to maintain ecological balances and they contribute to the welfare of human beings

These non-vascular plants play a vital role in, and constitute a major part of, both the biomass and the biodiversity in forest, wetland, mountain, and tundra ecosystems. In temperate forests and wetlands, for example, bryophytes form extensive mixed communities and contribute significantly to community structure and ecosystem function. They are vital in soil stabilisation and water-retention, and hence in the prevention of floods and landslides. In Arctic regions bryophytes are important in maintaining permafrost whilst bryophyte-rich peatlands are important carbon sinks in both Arctic and temperate zones.

Owenboy Natural Reserve, Mayo Co., Ireland Oak woosland on the southern slopes of Torc Mountain, near Killarney, Co. Kerry, Ireland Coumaknoc Loughs, below Brendon Mountain, Co. Kerry, Ireand Shaded rock in Bükk Mts, Hungary
© B. Papp © D. Holyoak © R. Thompson © B. Papp