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Plant communities in montane regions are useful for studying the potential effects of climate change. Many mountain species have affinities with colder climates and may not survive local temperature rises. Although Irish mountains are not of high altitude and are influenced by the tempering effect of the Atlantic Ocean, they support some species of arctic–montane affinity. In Ireland, the climate termed hyperoceanic, with its constant moisture and mild temperatures, prevails on western mountains. There it benefits the growth of bryophyte communities, which are more abundant due to higher cloud cover and precipitation as well as lower evapotranspiration. As these bryophyte communities occur up to c. 1000 m, alongside the arctic–montane higher plant species, they can be complementary as climate change indicators, as they respond differently to such change. There is little systematic information on the distribution of these scarce montane plant communities. Their distribution on the mountains of the west of Ireland is being mapped, and data are being gathered on the local climate of selected mountains. This will supply useful case-study material for climate change modelling, specifically providing information on regions that have little precise climatic information and on plant communities that are likely to be very vulnerable to aspects of climate change.