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The ecology and distribution of lichens in tropical deciduous and evergreen forests of northern Thailand

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During three years of research on epiphytic lichen communities as indicators of environmental change in northern Thailand plots were set up in a range of forest types between 400 and 1600 m in 1991/2 and revisited in 1993. Other areas were visited in 1993 and collections made in a wider range of geographical, altitudinal and vegetation conditions in Thailand. From this data factors influencing the distribution of lichens in a monsoon climate are outlined and characteristic components of the lichen flora given at family, generic and where possible specific level. Dominant taxa of the montane forests include hygrophilous macrolichens of the ‘Lobarion’ that are also a characteristic component of old growth fagaceous forests in Europe, whereas the evergreen forests are dominated by moisture-dependent crustose taxa with a trentepohlioid photobiont, and the deciduous dipterocarp forests by often brightly coloured xerophytic lichens with a trebouxioid photobiont. Taxa are proposed as indicators of forest type including those that are indicators of old-growth forests and of disturbance. Quantitative recording of selected taxa at genus and species level is suggested to estimate rates of change in monsoon forests in southeast Asia.
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Keywords: Corticolous lichens; Thailand; bioindicators; climate-change; diversity; monsoon forests; photobiont

Document Type: Original Article

Affiliations: Leverhulme research project on Lichens as indicators of environmental change in tropical forests of Thailand, Botany Department, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Rd, London SW7 5BD, U.K.

Publication date: 1997-01-01

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