These plans are from the original UKBAP Tranches 1 and 2 (1995-1999)
For up-to-date information please visit The Biodiversity Action Reporting System (BARS)

Plans | Species | Mosses | Rhynchostegium rotundifolium

Species Action Plan

Round-leaved Feather-moss (Rhynchostegium rotundifolium)

Current status

Round-leaved feather-moss is a patch-forming moss with short branches arising from a creeping stem. It grows on tree trunks with alkaline bark (such as ash and field maple), limestone rocks and tree roots in shady places. Sporophytes are common.
This has never been a common species in Britain where it has only been recorded from three sites. It is now known at just two sites in Sussex and Gloucestershire, and has not been seen at its only other locality in Somerset for over 75 years. It is restricted to an area of about half a square metre on one tree at its East Sussex site (where it was first seen in 1956) and is scattered over an area of about 10 m² on a limestone wall, hedgebank and field maple in Gloucestershire. Elsewhere this moss has a scattered distribution across central Europe and has also been recorded from Asia.
In Great Britain this species is provisionally classified as Critically Endangered and is specially protected under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. It is listed as Rare in the 1995 Red Data Book of European Bryophytes.

Current factors causing loss or decline

Exposure of colonies to excessive levels of direct sunlight. The East Sussex site has declined recently following removal of vegetation nearby.
Agricultural spray drift.
Repair works to the Gloucestershire wall site.
Major highway improvements alongside the Gloucestershire site.

Current action

The East Sussex site in within an SSSI.
Translocation of a few stems of this species was attempted at the East Sussex site, but was unsuccessful.

Action plan objectives and targets

Maintain populations of this species at both known sites.
Achieve the spread of existing populations.
If it is considered biologically feasible and desirable, establish three new colonies of this species on suitable substrate close to extant sites by 2005.
Establish by 2005 ex situ stocks of this species to safeguard extant populations.

Proposed actions with lead agencies

Policy and legislation

None proposed.

Site safeguard and management

Consider notifying the Gloucestershire site as an SSSI, if this is consistent with selection guidelines and necessary to ensure its long-term protection and appropriate management. (ACTION: NE)
Visit both extant sites regularly and assess any threats present at each. Conservation management such as scrub control should be implemented if necessary. (ACTION: NE)
Ensure that any repair work to the wall in Gloucestershire where round-leaved feather-moss grows, or to the adjacent highway, does not disturb colonies of this species, or lead to a deterioration in its habitat. (ACTION: NE, Highways Agency, LA)
Assess the threat to extant colonies of round-leaved feather-moss posed by agricultural spray drift. Address any such threats by discussion with relevant farmers and consider targeting the Countryside Stewardship Scheme where necessary. (ACTION: NE, MAFF)

Species management and protection

Depending on the results of 5.5.3, establish ex situ stocks of this species from material derived from British populations. (ACTION: NE, RBG Kew)
Depending on the success of 5.5.3 and 5.3.1, and if considered appropriate, attempt translocations to three sites close to the known colonies. (ACTION: NE, RBG Kew)


Advise landowners and managers of the presence and importance of round-leaved feather-moss, specific management for its conservation, and any potentially damaging actions. Landowners and managers should have access to specialist advice if needed. (ACTION: NE)
As far as possible, ensure that all relevant agri-environment project officers are advised of the locations of this species, its importance, management requirements and potential threats. (ACTION: NE, MAFF)

Future Research and Monitoring

Undertake a thorough survey for this species in the vicinity of the Sussex site. The Gloucestershire site should also be checked and the survey extended to include suitable habitat surrounding the known colonies. An assessment of current threats should be made at each site and action taken to ensure colonies are protected from these threats. (ACTION: NE)
Undertake regular monitoring of each extant site in order to maintain an understanding of the status of this species, and to allow for prompt conservation action in the event of new threats arising at any of its sites. (ACTION: NE)
Undertake pilot studies to develop and refine ex situ conservation techniques for this species and other threatened bryophytes. (ACTION: NE, RBG Kew)

Communications and Publicity

Encourage bryologists to pass all records of round-leaved feather-moss, including ecological information, to a national database. (ACTION: NE, JNCC)
Liaise with specialist societies to increase the awareness and identification skills of bryologists and other naturalists in relation to this species, through publishing articles or holding identification workshops. (ACTION: NE, JNCC)

Links with other action plans

None given.

Local implementation

The following LBAPs are working on Rhynchostegium rotundifolium:

Biodiversity Action Plan for Gloucestershire

Publication details

Originally published in: UK Biodiversity Group Tranche 2 Action Plans - Volume III: Plants and fungi (February 1999, Tranche 2, Vol III, p259)
© Joint Nature Conservation Committee 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010