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Incineration Lowers Lichen Biodiversity

Lecanora sulphurea found on a boulder in the middle of a recently burned bog.

The practise of burning upland bogs and heathland to encourage the rapid regeneration of heather plays havoc with lichen biodiversity. Many species of the slow growing Cladonia group, such as Cladonia portentosa, that grow on and among mosses are wiped out. Lichen flora on boulders are also incinerated, as the photograph clearly shows. This specimen of Lecanora sulphurea probably took 60 years to grow, but met its demise recently. Photographed on June 19th, 2008 on one of Ireland’s heathlands.