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Boreal Felt Lichen (Erioderma pedicellatum)

Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 162512330

Developing conservation strategies for the critically endangered lichen Erioderma pedicellatum in Kamchatka

Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation (Project No. 162512330) - Boreal Felt Lichen - Awarded $10,000 on June 08, 2016

Boreal Felt Lichen [Erioderma pedicellatum (Hue) P. M. Jørg.] is an epiphytic species restricted to primarily old growth, highly oceanic coniferous forests. This species with very narrow habitat requirements is extremely rare in the world, it is recognized by the IUCN as Critically Endangered (http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/43995/0).

The Asiatic population of Boreal Felt Lichen was found in 2009 in primeval oceanic spruce forests of Kronotsky Nature Reserve, Kamchatka, Russian Federation. Kamchatka is the fourth location of this species. In 2013, a substantial part of the Boreal Felt Lichen population was discovered outside the Kronotsky Reserve in the vicinities of Lazo on Nikolka volcano slopes. This is the most threatened part of the population because of forest management. It is necessary to study this part of the population and to protect the whole population.

Until recently Boreal Felt Lichen was known as an amphi-Atlantic species, existing populations of the species in Atlantic are known in Norway and Canada (Newfoundland and Nova Scotia). In August 2007 a small population of Boreal Felt Lichen was found in Alaska– that was the first record of the species in the Pacific area. Our record is the second for the Pacific and the first for Russia and Asia. In 2015 we proposed this species to be included in the Red Data Book of Russia, but still it is not approved - the results of our study should help us to sustain the position of this species as protected in Russia.

Kamchatka is a huge (350 000 km2) peninsula in the eastern part of North Eurasia, surrounded by the Sea of Okhotsk and the Pacific Ocean (Bering Sea). Kamchatka has 29 active and about 300 extinct volcanoes and 446 glaciers covering ca. 900 km2. Spruce (Picea ajanensis Fisch.) forests in Kamchatka present only in the Central Kamchatian Depression and are rare, main part of these forests are primeval and almost untouched, not disturbed by human activities or recent natural catastrophes; age of spruces is up to 220–230 years. Primeval spruce forest communities in Kamchatka are probably unique in whole Eurasia, and they deserve special study and special protection.

With the funds from the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund we are now working on study and conservation of Asiatic population of Boreal Felt Lichen. These activities include:

- Field study of the recently found Asian population of Erioderma pedicellatum (especially study of distribution outside the Kronotsky Reserve);

- Steps for protection the endangered part of population discovered outside the nature reserve: dialogue with local authorities and other officials;

- Laboratory analysis and a re-evaluation of the IUCN redlist status of E. pedicellatum;

- Publication of results in scientific papers and popular brochure.

Project documents