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Fire in tropical dry forests: corticolous lichens as indicators of recent ecological changes in Thailand

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The distribution of lichens in lowland deciduous and evergreen forests in Thailand is used to interpret recent changes in the distribution of these forests. The role of fire in changing the forest structure, microclimate and species content is discussed. Characteristic corticolous lichen communities of dry deciduous and moist evergreen forests are described, as well as changes in the composition of the flora following fire events. Where frequent fires have altered the forest rates of change in forest type are suggested using lichen data from randomly selected trees in forest plots, and growth rates of sampled species in quadrats. The disjunct nature of the lichen floras in lowland deciduous and evergreen forests is discussed, their origin and use in interpreting changes in forest types in monsoon climates over long periods of time.
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Keywords: Corticolous lichens; Thailand; fire; indicator species; microclimate; rates of change; tropical forests

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 Road, London SW7 5BD, UK.

Publication date: 1997-01-01

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