About Lichens

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Lichens number ~1000 species and live in almost every habitat in Nova Scotia. Suites of species frequently grow together to form distinct lichen communities. Many species are common, while others are rare or threatened. The latter are often at the edge of their global distribution ranges or are threatened by habitat loss, pollution and other human-related factors. For a few species, Nova Scotia provides some the best available habitat in the world. 

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NS Lichen Map.png

Value of Lichens

  • Used by countless other species; like nests for birds, food for mammals, and shelter for insects

  • Describes the quality of a forest, especially old growth forest

  • Converts carbon dioxide into oxygen

  • Indicates the presence of air pollution and other harmful environmental impacts

  • Provides a source for natural dyes

  • Produces medicinally important compounds

  • Aesthetically pleasing

  • Provides survival mechanism for drought-intolerant algae

  • Provides food for many human cultures around the world

Photo Credit: Rick Whitman (link)

Stewardship

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