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Good practice for collecting moss

Terms for collecting

The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Food and the Environment has established a set of regulations to regulate the gathering of moss and to make this practice more sustainable.

The collection season is between 15th September and 15th May and the limit for domestic collection is 4 m2.

We recommend that you look for alternatives to moss for crèches, such artificial or natural grass, sand, stones or moss that has been reused from other years.

Moss collection is not permitted

In protected areas with plans in force which lay down restrictions for this activity, such as the PEIN (Decree 328/1992).

In areas where the following species are found and which are strictly protected according to the Catalogue of Endangered Flora of Catalonia (Decree 172/2008) indicated on the map: moss

  • Brioeritrophyllum inaequalifolium, heads of Ter and Freser.
  • Entosthodon durieui (= Funaria mustafae), cap de Creus.
  • Leucobrium juniperoideum, cliffs of la Muga.
  • Oedipodiella australis, cap de Creus, massif of l'Albera.
  • Ptilium crista-castrensis, heads of Ter and Freser, and Portillon.
  • Scorpidium scorpioides, Naut Aran.
  • Sphagnum sp., head of Noguera Ribagorçana, head of Noguera de Vallferrera and Noguera de Cardós, massif of Montseny, Naut Aran.
  • Sphagnum subnitens, massif of Cadiretes.
  • Acaulon casasianum (= Tortula sp.), valley of Llobregós river.

In fountains and epicontinental waters where moss grows and may be in contact with the water during the rain season. Gathering moss in these areas would damage the habitats of the flora and fauna and could cause erosion.

In forest areas which have been affected by forest fires in the last 10 years.

Map where it's banned collecting moss

Map where it's banned collecting moss

Sustainable collection

Gather moss in mats which are smaller than 1 m2. Make sure you leave behind the same quantity or more than you have taken. Be careful not to damage the ground; dig a maximum of 3cm in depth, and use the proper tools so as not to damage the environment or the moss you have harvested.

Remember that all forest areas have either a public or a private owner, and authorization from this owner is necessary. When the authorities find, in gathering areas or during transport, amounts equal to or above 4 m2 of moss, the authorization from the owner or receipts of the product must be presented. If authorization has not been obtained, the moss shall be returned to the forest, regardless of the administrative sanctions that may derive.

Box with moss in a market

Box with moss in a market

Moss and the crèche

Moss is a small plant that grows in patches of green all year round, which includes different species of bryophytes. It has a great capacity to absorb water and nutrients. It provides a habitat for small animals and serves as substrate for the germination of seeds or other plants and it protects from the sun.

The setting up of a crèche is a wonderful Christmas tradition in Catalonia. Nativity scenes, as we know them today, were introduced in the sixteenth century. They are a reproduction of the birth of Jesus using figures in scenes that usually represent the stable, the Annunciation to the shepherds, the Adoration of the Kings and activities of daily life. The expression, the colour and the shapes of the figures are essential to this representation and are of great artistic value. For the landscape, natural elements are used such as sawdust, cork and moss, which are used to great effect in recreating the rural scene represented in the nativity scene.

Pessebre de Nadal