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Factors at multiple scales influence the composition of terricolous lichen communities in temperate semi-arid sandy grasslands

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 December 2021

Katalin Veres*
Institute of Ecology and Botany, Centre for Ecological Research, H-2163 Vácrátót, Alkotmány u. 2–4, Hungary
Zsolt Csintalan
Department of Plant Physiology and Ecology, Institute of Biological Sciences, Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, H-2100 Gödöllő, Páter K. u. 1, Hungary
Bence Kovács
Institute of Ecology and Botany, Centre for Ecological Research, H-2163 Vácrátót, Alkotmány u. 2–4, Hungary
Edit Farkas
Institute of Ecology and Botany, Centre for Ecological Research, H-2163 Vácrátót, Alkotmány u. 2–4, Hungary
Author for correspondence: Katalin Veres. E-mail:


Inland dune ecosystems are rich in terricolous lichen species. However, these communities are sensitive to human activities, both locally and globally. Since terricolous lichens have a dominant role in semi-arid sandy grasslands, it is important to explore the composition of their communities and the environmental factors affecting them. We studied the structure of the terricolous lichen assemblages of calcareous grassland in an inland duneland ecosystem by comparing the lichen communities of arid and humid dune sides on two sites with different disturbance histories. Microcoenological data were collected according to the Braun-Blanquet method. Environmental variables include the cover of bare soil, moss, litter, herb cover and height of herbs. We investigated the relationship of these variables and the presence and absence data of terricolous lichen species to sites and dune side. We found that the site had a significant effect on species richness that might reflect the different types and severity of previous disturbance events at the studied sites. On a smaller, ‘dune’ scale, in general lower herb cover and height and a higher moss cover were characteristic of arid dune sides. Most of the frequent species were negatively affected by higher moss cover. Some lichen species were more abundant (e.g. Cladonia furcata) or found only (e.g. Xanthoparmelia subdiffluens, Gyalolechia fulgens) on arid dune sides, while others preferred (e.g. C. pyxidata) or occurred only on (e.g. Peltigera species, C. rei) humid sides. It was observed that the impact of the dune side on several variables differed between sites. The diverse microhabitat types, microclimate and landscape structure, results in species-rich and valuable terricolous lichen communities forming in inland dune ecosystems.

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Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the British Lichen Society

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