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Epiphytic lichens as indicators of environmental health in the vicinity of Chiang Mai city, Thailand

  • Wanaruk SAIPUNKAEW (a1), Patricia WOLSELEY (a2) and P. James CHIMONIDES (a3)

Abstract

Epiphytic lichens were sampled on selected trees in 19 sites radiating from Chiang Mai city including the adjacent mountain Doi Suthep in Northern Thailand using the VDI method (Verein Deutscher Ingenieure) to obtain frequency of occurrence in 10 area units per sampled tree. Sites selected included highly polluted sites in urban and adjacent industrial areas of Chiang Mai city, disturbed rural sites and undisturbed forest on Doi Suthep mountain, with altitudes varying from 260–1450 m. Lichen diversity was highest in upland sites and lowest in urban and agricultural sites. Analysis of lichen taxa at generic and at macrolichen species level and environmental data using PRIMER showed that upland and lowland sites were distinguished in the first division at both levels and correlated with altitude and vegetation type. Analysis of all taxa at generic level showed no separation of lowland sites but at macrolichen species level a better separation was obtained, suggesting that lichen diversity alone cannot be used for biomonitoring of air pollution. The relationship of epiphytic lichens to climate and pollution data available for Chiang Mai city and Doi Suthep is discussed and results compared with data from other studies in SE Asia.

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Epiphytic lichens as indicators of environmental health in the vicinity of Chiang Mai city, Thailand

  • Wanaruk SAIPUNKAEW (a1), Patricia WOLSELEY (a2) and P. James CHIMONIDES (a3)

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