Species richness of lichen functional groups in relation to land use intensity

Silvia Stofer*, Ariel Bergamini, Gregorio Aragón, Palmira Carvalho, Brian J. Coppins, Simon Davey, Michael Dietrich, Edit Farkas, Kati Kärkkäinen, Christine Keller, László Lökös, Sampsa Lommi, Cristina Máguas, Ruth Mitchell, Pedro Pinho, Víctor J. Rico, Anne-Marie Truscott, Patricia A. Wolseley, Allan Watt, Christoph Scheidegger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Citations (Scopus)


Changing land use has a major impact on lichen diversity. This study attempts to identify patterns or trends of lichen functional groups along a land use gradient, ranging from natural forests to open agricultural landscape. In eight countries, covering six main European biogeographic regions, lichen vegetation was assessed according to a standardized scheme. Data on reproductive, vegetative and ecological traits was compiled and relative species richness for all classes of all traits calculated. Relationships between the land use gradient and relative species richness of trait classes were analysed. Open and intensively managed landscapes harbour more fertile species while sterile species are relatively more important in forests. This finding is also supported by analyses of different classes of dispersal propagules. The importance of species with the principal photobiont Trebouxia s.l. increases linearly with intensification of land use. A converse pattern is revealed by species with Trentepohlia. Concerning substratum specialization only generalists show an effect along the land use intensity gradient. Their relative species richness decreases from landscapes dominated by forests to open agricultural landscape. A considerable decline in the rare lichen species richness as a result of land intensification is predicted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-353
Number of pages23
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006


  • Europe
  • Functional groups
  • Land use intensity
  • Lichen diversity


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