Edge Response of Understorey Plants, Lichenivorous Gastropods and Their Grazing Impact on At-Risk Lichens in Mixedwood Swamps
Clearcut logging and acid deposition affect plants, lichens and slugs (lichen consumers) and may facilitate the introduction and spread of alien invasive slugs, which can increase grazing pressures on at-risk lichens. The main research goal of this project is to improve our understanding of how clearcutting practices affect herbs and slugs and facilitate both the introduction of alien slugs and increased grazing on endangered lichens. We will: (i) identify slugs that feed on at-risk lichens in swamps; (ii) determine whether slug communities change with distance from the clearcut edges; and (iii) determine how these communities relate to acidity levels on bark. Such information will allow estimating the extension of clearcut impacts and will aid forest managers to define strategies and remediation methods for the conservation of at-risk lichens.