Epiphytic Montane Lichens Exposed to Background Air Pollution and Climate Change: Monitoring and Conservation Aspects

Gregory E. Insarov


A monitoring scheme using epiphytic lichens has been developed over the last decades for several protected areas and regions in Russia and adjacent countries influenced by background air pollution and, increasingly, also by climate change. Its main objective is to detect trends in epiphytic lichen status caused by changes in background (regional and global) air pollution levels. The scheme includes: (1) a sampling protocol to assess lichen diversity, cover and frequency on tree trunks, (2) estimates of the sensitivity of lichen species to air pollution in the protected area or region, (3) determination of the Trend Detection Index (TDI) of lichen community status with the highest resolution as it relates to air pollution change detection. Confidence intervals for lichen cover and frequency can also be calculated for each species. Trend in TDI, cover and frequency can be revealed by conventional statistic methods. Decline of lichen community characteristics along a gradient of air pollution can also be quantified. On the basis of these trends, one can quantify change in a lichen species, or community state. These trends can than be used to categorize and re-asses lichen species in new red-list categories according to 2001 IUCN threat categories and criteria. Examples from montane national reserves in Russian and adjacent countries are presented.


Background Air Pollution; Climate Change; Epiphytic Lichens; Monitoring; Nature Reserves; Red Data Book; Russia; Indices; Trend Detection

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