The Lichenologist

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Spatial analysis of lichen species richness in a disturbed ecosystem (Niepolomice Forest, S Poland)

Pawel  KAPUSTA a1 c1 , Grazyna  SZAREK-LUKASZEWSKA a2 and Józef  KISZKA a3
a1 Department of Ecosystem Studies, Institute of Environmental Sciences, Jagiellonian University, Gronostajowa 7, 30-387 Kraków, Poland
a2 W. Szafer Institute of Botany, Polish Academy of Sciences, Lubicz 46, 31-512 Kraków, Poland
a3 Department of Botany, Institute of Botany, Pedagogical Academy, Podbrzezie 3, 31-054 Kraków, Poland

Article author query
kapusta p   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
szarek-lukaszewska g   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
kiszka j   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


The spatial pattern of lichen species richness was analyzed in a forest ecosystem impacted for 50 years by industrial emissions from a steelworks. Geostatistical tools were used to characterize the spatial pattern of the number of lichen species and multiple regression analysis was used to identify factors influencing it. Spatial analysis showed high variation of lichen species richness on a local scale, caused by patchiness of natural habitat factors (species composition of trees, their age, shade, etc.). On a large spatial scale, species richness differentiated the western from the eastern part of the forest. The western part, closer to the sources of pollution, had fewer species (average 6–10 per locality) than the eastern part (10–15 per locality). Multiple regression analysis was used to examine the relationships between the species richness of lichens and several environmental variables: input of ions with bulk precipitation (SO42−, NO−3, Cl, Ca2+, Mg2+, Fe3+, Zn3+, Pb2+, Cd2+), distance to forest edge, tree stand age, and number of species per locality. Regression analysis was preceded by factor analysis for the input of ions to obtain uncorrelated variables. Regression explained 53% of the variation of lichen species richness. Highly significant predictor variables were the factor connected with the input of pollutants (Fe3+, Zn2+) emitted by the steelworks (negative effect) and the number of trees per locality (positive effect). Species richness was also affected by the age structure of the tree stand; more species were recorded in old forests.

(Accepted April 26 2004)

Key Words: geostatistics; industrial pollution; lichens; multiple regression; spatial pattern; species richness.

c1 Corresponding author