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Home > NIEA > Protected Areas > Ramsar Sites > Slieve Beagh

Slieve Beagh Ramsar Site

Last updated: 24 March 2010

Area: 1884.68 hectares

Grid Reference: H 524446

Date Designated: 15/12/99

Slieve Beagh is situated partly in County Fermanagh and partly in County Tyrone in the south west of Northern Ireland along the International border with the Irish Republic. The Ramsar site boundary is entirely coincident with that of the Slieve Beagh Area of Special Scientific Interest and the Slieve Beagh Special Area of Conservation.

picture of upland blanket bog featuresThe site qualifies under Criterion 1a of the RamsarOpens in New window Convention by being a particularly good representative example blanket bog.
It is one of the largest expanses of intact upland peatland in Northern Ireland. The extensive blanket bog, which covers most of the site, exhibits the full range of characteristic vegetation and structural features associated with this type of habitat.

The peatland complex includes a number of oligotrophic water bodies as well as a number of raised and soligenous bog units, all within an enveloping bog mantle.

Together these support an array of associated plant and animal communities.

The peatland exhibits a number of notable structural features, which include occasional well developed hummock and lawn complexes, a few small localised pool complexes, as well as soakways and flushes.
The general vegetation is characterised by SphagnumOpens in New window mosses, dwarf-shrubs and sedges, with the composition and abundance of these components dependent on local soil conditions, in particular the water table and relief.
Several upland, base-poor lakes occur within the complex. The most common type is characterised by the aquatic mosses Sphagnum cuspidatum, Sphagnum auriculatum, Drepanocladus spp. and the liverwort Jungermannia spp. The floating and marginal vegetation associated with these water bodies tends to be sparse and restricted, and consists of a scattered swamp and poor acid fen fringe.

picture of a hen harrier perched on a fence postThe area supports a breeding population of red grouse.
In addition, it is regularly used throughout the year by golden plover and hen harrier.
The upland lakes support a species-poor but notable upland insect fauna.
The characteristic upland water beetle Agabus arcticus and the water bug Callicorixa wollastoni are common in the lakes and pools and the concentration of records of both species is the greatest recorded in Northern Ireland.
Acidophile species and those typical of oligotrophic waters are also common, reflecting the prevailing conditions including Hydroporus gyllenhali, Hydroporus obscurus and Sigara scotti.

The most notable species are found in the highest lake, Lough Sallagh, where the rare upland beetles Opens in New windowPotamonectes griseostriatus and corixid Glaenocorisa propinqua are found.
The natural acid flushes and the shallow pools associated with the many bog-bursts support a different suite of species including the local water beetles Agabus guttatus, Stictonectes lepidus and the corixid Sigara nigrolineata.