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    Author(s): Robert J. Smith; Sarah Jovan; Bruce McCune
    Date: 2017
    Source: Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-952. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 44 p.
    Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (6.0 MB)


    Epiphytic lichens are bioindicators of climate, air quality, and other forest conditions and may reveal how forests will respond to global changes in the U.S. Pacific States of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and California. We explored climate indication with lichen communities surveyed by using both the USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) and Alaska Region (R10) methods. Across the Pacific States, lichen indicator species and ordination “climate scores” reflected associations between lichen community composition and climate. Indicator species are appealing targets for monitoring, while climate scores at sites resurveyed in the future can indicate climate change effects. Comparing the FIA and R10 survey methods in coastal Alaska showed that plot size affected lichen-species capture but not climate scores, whereas mixing data from both methods did not improve climate scores. Remeasurements from 1989 to 2014 in south-central and southeast Alaska revealed the importance of systematically random plot designs to detect climate responses in lichen communities. We provide an appendix of lichen species with climate indicator values. Lichen indicator species and community climate scores are promising tools for meeting regional forest management objectives.

    Publication Notes

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Smith, Robert J.; Jovan, Sarah; McCune, Bruce. 2017. Lichen communities as climate indicators in the U.S. Pacific States. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-952. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. 44 p.


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    Bioindication, climate change, coastal Pacific Northwest, forest health, gradient analysis, indicator species, niche tolerance, ordination, site scores.

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