Invasion of Pollution-tolerant Lichens in western Oregon and Washington


Introduction: Despite the Pacific Northwest's reputation for clean air and high quality of life, clean-air-demanding lichens are slipping away. To some extent these may be replaced by pollution-tolerant species, alien species common in polluted regions of Europe and eastern North America.

Although botanists may have little to say about regulatory decisions that affect air quality, the least we can do is document the changes around us and report these to the public and the scientific community. Loss of our native flora and the invasion of alien species reflects deterioration of air quality and implies a deterioration in the quality of life.

Invasion of alien species is a pervasive problem with vascular plants, but the phenomenon is slipping by unnoticed with lichens. This project starts to fill that gap by documenting the presence and distribution of four pollution-tolerant non-native lichens in the Pacific Northwest. This information will be useful as a baseline for comparison in the future.

Related Readings (and literature cited elsewhere in this web site)

Geiser, L. 1997. Monitoring air quality using lichens. Methods and strategy. 76 pp., unpublished.

Hale, M. E., Jr. 1965. Studies on the Parmelia borreri group. Svensk Botanisk Tidskrift 59:37-48.

Neitlich, P. and B. McCune. 1997. Hotspots of Epiphytic Lichen Diversity in Two Young Managed Forests. Conservation Biology 11:172-182.

McCune, B., J. Dey, J. Peck, D. Cassell, K. Heiman, S. Will-Wolf, P. Neitlich. 1997. Repeatability of community data: species richness versus gradient scores in large-scale lichen studies. Bryologist 100:40-46.

McCune, B. and L. Geiser. 1997. Macrolichens of the Pacific Northwest. Oregon State University Press. 386 pages. (ISBN 0-87-71-394-9, pbk.: Color photos and descriptions for over 200 foliose and fruticose lichens plus keys to species known from Oregon and Washington; contact OSU Press: 541-737-3166, fax 541-737-3170.)

McCune, B, J. Dey, J. Peck, K. Heiman, S. Will-Wolf. 1997. Regional gradients in lichen communities of the southeast United States. Bryologist 100:145-158.

Tallent-Halsell, N.G. (ed.) 1994. Forest Health Monitoring 1994 Field Methods Guide. US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C.

Weber, W. A. & J. W. Thomson. 1975. Physcia duplicorticata Weber & Thomson sp. nov. from California. Mycotaxon 3:102-104.