Lichens and allied fungi of Sandbar Lake Provincial Park, Ontario
Keywords:Sandbar Lake Provincial Park, lichens, fungi, boreal forest, Great Lakes–St. Lawrence forest, conservation, biogeography, bioindicators, protected areas
Sandbar Lake Provincial Park (Sandbar Lake) covers 8053 ha in the boreal forest in northwestern Ontario. Within the park boundary are natural forests representative of those in the region, as well as forests that are heavily disturbed from resource extraction activities, which are prevalent in northwestern Ontario. The lichen biota in this part of the boreal forest is known to be rich and abundant, but lichen diversity is also known to be negatively impacted by disturbances (e.g., timber harvesting, mining, and climate change). Therefore, lichens can be used to monitor the effects of these disturbances, but baseline data are required. Here, we present the results of the first detailed inventory of the lichens and allied fungi of Sandbar Lake. We report 139 species in 69 genera from 16 sites that represent all macrohabitats present in the park. Seven species have a provincial conservation status rank from S1 to S3 (critically imperilled to vulnerable), and one species, Arthrosporum populorum, has previously been collected only once in northwestern Ontario. Our results fill biogeographic gaps for many species and allow lichens to be used as biomonitors during further study at Sandbar Lake. We show that Sandbar Lake has important conservation value, and our data provide an opportunity for further study in an area with no previous research on lichens.
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