Maria Kossowska et al.


Maria Kossowska Department of Botany, Institute of Environmental Biology,
Wrocław University, ul. Kanonia 6/8, 50-328 Wrocław, Poland

Wiesław Fałtynowicz Department of Botany, Institute of Environmental Biology,
Wrocław University, ul. Kanonia 6/8, 50-328 Wrocław, Poland

Monika Dimos-Zych Department of Botany, Institute of Environmental Biology,
Wrocław University, ul. Kanonia 6/8, 50-328 Wrocław, Poland



Porosty wracają w Karkonosze – wstępne wyniki 2 etapów monitoringu lichenologicznego w Karkonoskim Parku Narodowym


Lichens return to the Giant Mountains – preliminary results of the two stages of
lichenological monitoring in the Karkonosze National Park
Epiphytic lichen flora in the Karkonsze (Giant) Mountains was once rich and diverse. In the lichenological literature one can find data on the occurrence of about 170 species, including lichens with large, foliose or fruticose thalli, e.g.: Evernia divaricata, Letharia vulpina, Lobaria linita, Menegazzia terebrata, Nephroma bellum, N. resupinatum et al. (Kossowska 2011).
The environmental disaster that struck the Karkonosze Mts in the seventies of the twentieth century caused the disappearance of most of the epiphytic lichens or significant reduction in the number of their localities. On the greater part of the area trees were completely devoided of lichen vegetation or only the most resistant crustose species, like Lecanora conizaeoides, were recorded on them. More sensitive taxa were found only in few enclaves with habitat conditions especially favorable for lichens (see Kossowska 2002). Similar processes occurred throughout the Central Europe, but in the Karkonosze Mts the decline of epiphytic lichens was particularly visible.
In later decades, expenditures on environmental protection have led to the improvement of an air quality. As a result, in 2000 in some parts of the Karkonosze Mts numerous juvenile thalli of slightly more sensitive foliose colud be observed (Kossowska 2000). In 2004, an attempt was made to determine the rate and stages of the lichen return process, on a basis of a network of 630 forest monitoring plots existing in the Karkonosze National Park (Kossowska et al. 2007, Kossowska & Fałtynowicz 2008). These plots are evenly distributed throughout the park and are spaced about 300 m east-west and 200 m north-south. So far two stages of lichen monitoring were conducted, in the years 2004 and 2011.
In the first stage of monitoring on each plot 1–3 investigation trees were selected (a total of approximately 1,460 trees). On each tree an inventory of all lichen species was made and their abundance and vitality were determined. In the second stage observations were repeated on the same trees and the results were compared.
The two stages of monitoring showed an increase in the number of species on the plots. In 2004, 70 taxa of lichens were found on investigation trees, while in 2011 – 79 taxa. The largest quantitative and qualitative changes were observed within the so-called macrolichens, producing relatively large, foliose or fruticose thalli. Most of the taxa recorded in 2004 increased the number of localities. Juvenile thalli of new, more sensitive species, e.g. Evernia prunastri and Usnea sp. also appeared, as yet on single localities.
However, the core of epiphytic biota in the Karkonosze National Park is still formed by a small group of species more or less resistant to air pollution. The only common lichen, present on over 90 % of investigation trees, is the most toxitolerant Lecanora conizaeoides. On more than 10 % of trees only 5 other species were found; others are still more or less rare.
The biggest qualititative change was observed on larch (increase in the number of species by 87 %) and birch (73 %). Due to the chemical properties of the bark, those trees (especially larch) are colonized by lichens first.
As the result of each edition of lichen monitoring two maps were prepared, showing the number of lichen species in a particular plot and the distribution of lichens with different morphological forms. In 2011, an increase in the number of species on the entire area of the park. was observed. The number of plots with more sensitive foliose and fruticose taxa also increased.


lichen monitoring | ecological disaster | Karkonosze (Giant) mountains