Species translocation can be considered as a primary conservation strategy with reference to in situ conservation. In the case of lichens, translocations often risk to fail due stress factors associated with unsuitable receptor sites. Considering the bioecological characteristics of lichens, air pollution is among the most limiting stress factors. In this study, the forest macrolichen Lobaria pulmonaria was used as a model to test the hypothesis that the translocation of sensitive lichens is effective only in unpolluted environments. At purpose, 500 fragments or whole thalli were translocated in selected beech forests of Central Europe (the Western Carpathians, Slovakia) where the species disappeared in the past and in oak forests of Southern Europe (Tuscany, Central Italy) where native populations are present. Prior to the translocation (May 2016) and after one year, morphological and ultrastructural features, trace elements as well as chlorophyll a fluorescence emission were analysed. Four years later, the effectiveness of lichen translocation was further evaluated as presence of the transplants and of newly formed individuals. After one year, the translocation ensured an effective survival of the thalli in remote oak and beech forests characterized by a negligible or low contamination by heavy metals. The transplants were considered successful and developed new lobules and rhizines, attaching by themselves to the bark of the host trees, looking overall healthy, without evident signs of alteration also at ultrastructural level. Moreover, in a few cases newly formed individuals were observed after four years. On the other hand, the results highlighted the link between the unsuccess of the translocation and air pollution in other areas of the Western Carpathians and suggested that current air quality still limits the possibility of recolonization in areas where the model species disappeared.
Does air pollution influence the success of species translocation? Trace elements, ultrastructure and photosynthetic performances in transplants of a threatened forest macrolichen / Paoli, L.; Guttova, A.; Sorbo, S.; Lackovicova, A.; Ravera, S.; Landi, S.; Landi, M.; Basile, A.; Sanita di Toppi, L.; Vannini, A.; Loppi, S.; Fackovcova, Z.. - In: ECOLOGICAL INDICATORS. - ISSN 1470-160X. - 117(2020). [10.1016/j.ecolind.2020.106666]
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