ISTUDIES ON LICHEN DETERIORATION IN HIGHER ALTITUDE AREASP. Ponmurugan, S. Venkatesan and R. Sevugaperumal
Lichens are biological indicators of atmospheric pollution level. Lichen deterioration in the population of this unique plant group in urban areas is mainly due to the environmental disturbances like industrial and automobile smokes and accumulation to chemical compounds as pesticides, fungicides and weedicide residues. Lichen distribution on tree barks from three different zones of a tree shoot such as bottom, middle and top of the various trees (both Gymnosperms and Angiosperms) were collected for analysing the pH. Apart from this, non-living substrata like asbestos roof, brick wall, rock and soil where no other plants can grow were also collected for distribution pattern of lichens and its pH for the study. Measurement of the distance of lichen origination on the substrata nearby the roadside and automobile stand in Munnar (1500 m MSL), Udumalpet (500 MSL) and Bodi (750 MSL) were examined. The lichen distribution were more at the bark of tree twigs (pH = 4.0 to 5.5) and gradually decreased downwards with augmenting pH level. From our investigation it was found that the lichen species were completely absent in all the trees except few resistant varieties which were located nearby the roadside due to car exhaust and automobile smoke. Formation of lichen deserts and retention of resistance capacity of lichens against the atmospheric pollutants were also investigated in this paper.
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