Disturbance thresholds and factors influencing community dynamics of epiphytic cyanolichens in Nova Scotia, with an emphasis on rare and at-risk species

The coastal wet mixedwood forests of Nova Scotia are globally important for lichen biodiversity, but several lichen species are now declining or endangered. This is concerning for forest managers, because forest companies may be subject to penalties if they inadvertently destroy the habitat of an endangered species. The causes of lichen declines are not fully understood, but hypotheses include forest harvesting, acid deposition (from SO2 emissions), and grazing pressure from slugs. I will test these hypotheses, to enhance the ability of forest managers to mitigate negative impacts in the future.
First, I will use a comprehensive cyanolichen ecological dataset, from the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute?s ?at-risk? lichen database, to test whether any critical thresholds of lichen community health correlate with clearcutting, acid rain, or gastropod grazing. This will determine which activities have the most negative impacts. TO BE CONT’D

Faculty Supervisor:

Karen Harper


Sean Haughian


Port Hawkesbury Paper LP




Environmental industry




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