Hind Foundation Networking

California Lichens Guidebook

For Missouri Botanical Garden

In 2011, the Hind Foundation granted $20,000 to Missouri Botanical Garden to fund the development of a California Lichens Guidebook. One of nature’s most prolific organisms, lichens are probably the least recognized. They are especially diverse in California, a region with many different plant communities: from temperate rainforest to arid desert, coastal oak woodland to high alpine. The most recent lichen survey for California lists 1,575 taxa, which is more than for any other state or Canadian province. Lichens make important contributions to natural ecosystems by providing food and nesting material for wildlife, supplying fixed atmospheric nitrogen, and preventing soil erosion. Additionally, they are such sensitive indicators of an ecosystem’s health that they are studied by scientists responsible for monitoring air pollution and since lichens level of diversity is highest in undisturbed habitats, they are significant identifiers of ecosystems that are necessary to preserve, such as old-growth forests. The only existing field guide to California lichens, Lichens of California (Hale and Cole, University of California Press, 1988), is out of date. The updated Guidebook will combine accurate information for 400 - 500 species with striking images and will serve as a tool for the general public, scientists and resource managers. The book is anticipated to be completed in one year and cost around $70,000.

Noteworthy Outcomes

  • Filling a Void
    Because lichens are important indicators of air-quality, wildlife and an ecosystem’s overall health an updated field guide is essential for an informed management plan. The guidebook will serve all those who are interested in the natural landscape and biological diversity of California. This includes casual observers, "nature lovers" and also scientists and resource management personnel who are responsible for decision-making about our environment.

Area of Funding: Plant & Wildlife Restoration
Type of Funding: Standard Grant
Amount Funded: $20,000
Year Funded: 2011
Year Completed: 2011

About the Organization
Missouri Botanical Garden
4344 Shaw Blvd.
St Louis, MO 63110
(314) 577-5100

Founded in 1859, the Missouri Botanical Garden is the nation's oldest botanical garden in continuous operation and a National Historic Landmark. For over 151 years, the Garden has been an oasis in the city, a place of beauty and family fun—and also a center for education, science, and conservation.