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Graveyards (headstones, tombs, walls and old churches)

16_graveyardsGraveyards in Ireland are not as rich in lichen biodiversity as in other countries. This is due to the main headstone type in Ireland being limestone. A lack of rock substrate diversity is reflected in a lack of lichen biodiversity. However graveyards offer a stable unchanging environment so lichens can develop relatively undisturbed. Unfortunately in recent years local communities under various incentives (including the Tidy Towns initiative) have started scrubbing lichens off old headstones and tombs. In some cases headstones have been painted destroying any possibility of lichens returning.