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A Field Key to Lichens on Trees - a new book from Frank Dobson

Posted: Tuesday, July 9, 2013 - 09:25

Frank Dobson (author of the popular and well-respected "Lichens - An Illustrated Guide") has recently published a new  "Field Key to Lichens on Trees". This book contains colour photographs and illustrated keys. These keys use only characters that are visible in the field, by eye, or under a x10 hand lens. This combination enables the user to identify over 500 species of lichens which are likely to be found on trees. There is also a supplementary key to 'Lichens on sawn wood' (such as posts, fences or benches). All the species descriptions include a distribution map for the British Isles.

This book gives information for three methods of identification: 1) simple comparison with colour photographs of 128 of the commoner species; 2) colour photos in combination with a table of characters; 3) advanced keys covering all 500 species included in the book..

The use of technical words is kept to a minimum and an illustrated glossary is provided. The book also includes an introduction to lichens and their identification and an extensive section on the relationship of lichens and trees, a list of species included in the keys and a bibliography.

For durability and ease of use in the field, the book is spirally bound in wire and printed on thin card with stouter covers.

Size 250 x 180 mm. 110 pages including 8 colour plates.

Copies can be ordered directly from Frank Dobson at a price of £15 (plus p&p). Download an order form with further details from the links below. You can also download a sample page.

Symposium - Fungi, keystones of evolution and earth processes

Posted: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - 09:41

This joint meeting with the British Lichen Society, British Mycological Society and the Linnean Society is due to take place on 17 October 2013 and will comprise:

  • review of the ancient beginnings of fungi and explanation of  their probable crucial role in colonization of land by plants
  • exploration of the diversity of ecologically significant interactions between fungi and other organisms
  • description of recent advances in knowledge of speciation and phylogenetic research 
  • analysis of the extraordinary range of diversity in morphological structures and of their functional aspects
  • examination of their current status within conservation management programmes, the threats fungi face from global and local environmental change, and their potential value as indicators of ecosystem health

More Details and Registration Form

Advance Notice - International Lichen Symposium

Posted: Thursday, April 25, 2013 - 10:57

This is due to take place at the University of Nottingham, UK, on 10 and 11 January 2014. The theme is to be "New developments in lichenology: systematics,ecology, and use as indicators of envrironmental quality".

More details are given on our Events Calendar page.

Metallophyte lichens in Wales - a new management guide

Posted: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - 19:02

Wales is home to a large number of abandoned lead, copper and zinc mines and many of these are of exceptional importance for their metallophyte  lichen flora. This has been recognised by some of the sites being notified as SSSI by the Countryside Council for Wales and by the listing of the metallophyte community under Section 42 ot the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act (2006) as being of principal importance for the conservation of biodiversity in Wales. In order to promote wider awareness of the importance of these communities and their management needs, Plantlife Cymru have just launched a new  illustrated guide. For more details and to download a free copy of the guide visit the Plantlife website at

New guides to lichens in orchards

Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - 19:20

New! OPAL guides to lichens (and mosses) in orchards in the East of England. Congratulations to Mark Powell and the East of England team.

Click link to download


Important Welsh lichen site becomes a National Nature Reserve

Posted: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - 21:20

One of Wales’ most important sites for lichens of ancient parkland and pasture woodland  habitats will be designated a National Nature Reserve on 6th March 2013. Gregynog estate in Montgomeryshire is home to such rarities as Lecanora sublivescens (known worldwide from only the UK and Sweden); the UK endemic Entergrapha sorediata here at it's only site in Wales. The NIEC score here is 26, making it a site of UK national importance for ancient woodland indicator lichens.

More details can be found in the press release issued by the Countryside Council for Wales.



FSC Biodiversity Fellows Scheme

Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 15:35

The Field Studies Council (FSC) supported by Natural England and DEFRA have launched a new scheme aimed at creating a new pool of people with expertise in biological identifcation and recording, and encouraging volunteers to adopt particular taxon groups in order to build and share expertise. This scheme is called "Biodiversity Fellows" (or "bio.fell" for short). 

Full details of the scheme can be found on the FSC website

Wild Things - New Channel 4 Series

Posted: Friday, January 18, 2013 - 21:51

Lichenologist Sally Eaton makes her debut as a TV presenter in a new series on Channel 4 called Wild Things, with fellow presenters botanist Trevor Dines and landscape gardener Chris Myers.

Britain’s landscape has changed dramatically over the last 50 years, and this series will be exploring an aspect that has been the subject of much study by botanists and lichenologists over the last 50 years - what grows where and why, and why are both plants and lichens on the move.

The first episode will be broadcast on Monday 21st January, and will introduce viewers to the changing flora of roadside verges in the Midlands, the story of Lecanora conizaeoides, and those strange creatures tardigrades., that live amongst lichens. Later episodes will visit Salisbury Plain, London, Snowdonia, the Yorkshire Dales, and Merseyside.

Several BLS members have helped with the making of the programme and distribution data has been provided from the BLS database.


Is Usnea articulata expanding it's range in South Wales?

Posted: Thursday, November 15, 2012 - 18:20

A flurry of new locations for Usnea articulata in South Wales suggests this species may be making a spectacular comeback. More details on the Wales Lichens website.



Chalara Dieback - The Importance of Ash Trees to Lichens

Posted: Monday, November 12, 2012 - 09:06

Mature ash (Fraxinea excelsior) treeThe implications for lichens of the spread of Chalara Dieback of Ash, a disease of ash trees caused by the fungus Chalara fraxinea, could be very serious. Ash is one of our most common trees, both in woodlands and as isolated trees in fields and hedgerows. The light dappled shade beneath its canopy is ideal for many of the lichens that grow on tree bark and wood. Like elm, the bark of ash has a relatively high pH, a requirement for many lichens. Several of the more ‘demanding’ species that were severely affected by loss of habitat following Dutch Elm Disease found refuge on ash. Now they are further threatened. The mixed ash woods of northern and western Britain are particularly rich lichen habitats, as are wayside trees everywhere, particularly veteran trees that may be many hundreds of years old.

At least 536 species of lichen grow on ash trees, 27.5% of the British lichen flora, together with 31 lichenicolous fungi and 15 of the non-lichenized fungi that are recorded by lichenologists. Of these, 220 are nationally rare or scarce and 84 have a conservation status of critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable or near-threatened.

A very high proportion, 101, also have a status of International Responsibility, meaning that the British population is considered to be of international significance in a European or global context. 50 are priority species listed within the UK Biodiversity Action Plan, and 6 are given special protection under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981).

MORE INFORMATION on Ash Chalara dieback and lichens