A couple of my colleagues AJ Bellamy (Lead Ranger South Dartmoor) and Janet Lister (Wildlife and Countryside Consultant) have been looking at a rare lichen in the Plym Valley in North Wood and working out how we can manage the site better to ensure it survives into the future.
The species is one of the lungwort lichens Lobaria virens. Lungworts only survive in the west of Britain where the air quality is very high. Here is some more information on Lobaria virens from the British Lichen Society’s website.
Here is a picture of the tree which supports the lichen – it is found nowhere else in North Wood. It is on the bark of an ash tree near a stream which flows into the Plym – it prefers the alkaline bark conditions of ash.
National Trust staff and volunteers will do ‘crown reductions’ of nearby trees to ensure survival of the tree and to encourage ash tree regeneration near by – we may even translocate small samples of the lichen to donor ash trees to increase its chances of survival .
The Lobaria was found by Tony Harwell 15 years ago and Bob Hodgson (in the picture above with Janet Lister) has been keeping an eye on it ever since.
(Both photos by AJ Bellamy)