Tree lungwort (Lobaria pulmonaria)
Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 13257489
Lichens are mutualistic symbiotic organisms composed of fungal and green-algal partners. This project aims at mapping the distribution of lichens species on Mount Kilimanjaro including new species and studying the population genetics of Lobaria pulmonaria, a widespread but regionally threatened forest macro-lichen. The findings will enhance efforts on African tropical montane forest conservation so as to mitigate the effects of environmental change especially climate change. To-date, lichens have been used to assess various types of environmental changes including air pollution, climate change and deforestation. Studies show that African lichen knowledge is limited especially in tropical regions. In Tanzania, several lichen species are known to exist on Mt. Kilimanjaro around the altitude between 1800 m and 4000 m. However, their population size and threats of this species on Mt. Kilimanjaro are unknown.
The main objective of this project is to assess population size, threats and establish conservation measures of Lobaria pulmonaria (Tree lungwort) on mount Kilimanjaro. Specifically this project intends to;
i) update the list of forest lichen species on Mt. Kilimanjaro.
ii) assess the population size of Lobaria pulmonaria per host tree species.
iii) identify the influence of disturbed habitats on the distribution of Lobaria pulmonaria.
iv) identify the influence of habitat variables (tree species, pH, surface texture, moisture, trunk shape, tree height and tree size) on the distribution of Lobaria pulmonaria.
v) identify the influence of altitudinal ranges on the genetic differentiation of Lobaria pulmonaria.
vi) assess the knowledge of local people on lichen species and their habitats around Mt. Kilimanjaro.
vii) raise community awareness and conduct sensitization programs on lichen species and their habitats.
The three most important achievement of this project
i) The lichen project on Mt. Kilimanjaro has become well known in some villages through formation of school environmental clubs.
ii) Tree nurseries of different tree species have been established in Palangeny, Andrea, Lyasomboro and Marangu Hills Academy respectively to mitigate forest degradation activities on Mt. Kilimanjaro and these trees will be distributed to the communities around Mt. Kilimanjaro.
iii) 800 specimens have been collected from the forest on Mt. Kilimanjaro for population analyses of Lobaria pulmonaria.
The involvement of local communities
Four primary schools at Marangu in Moshi rural District are involved in this project and more 70 school children have actively participated in forest - lichens conservation programs.
Project 13257489 location - Tanzania, Africa