Loxospora confusa is endemic to the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain of eastern North America where it occurs in low-lying swamp forests that are threatened by sea-level rise and other forces. The core range of the species lies within the Dare Regional Biodiversity Hotspot and is projected to be inundated by sea-level rise by 2100.
The species is endemic to low-lying swamp forests of the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain in eastern North America, from Maryland south to South Carolina. A single small disjunct population is known from the southern Appalachian Mountains.
Demographic studies are needed to assess and monitor populations sizes. Our current knowledge of the species suggests that its populations are stable.
Population Trend: Stable
Loxospora confusa occurs on the bark and branches of hardwood trees, shrubs, and more rarely conifers, in humid, low-lying swamp forests. A single disjunct population in the Appalachian Mountains occurs on hardwood bark in a high humidity gorge.
With the exception of the small isolated population in the southern Appalachian Mountains all known populations occur within the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain, a region where only 12% of original “natural habitats” persist. In addition to intense pressure from development and other forces (industry, urbanization), much of the remaining habitat in the region is imperiled by sea-level rise. This includes the core range of Loxospora confusa in the Dare Regional Biodiversity Hotspot as well as additional low-lying sites outside of this area.
There are many conservation actions that can be taken including monitoring for the presence of laurel wilt which if introduced would impact a dominant tree in the forest and potentially change microhabitats thus impacting the species, educating and training land managers and local botanists to identify the species so we can monitor its health, federally listing the species as endangered in the United States, and improving air quality regulation, monitoring changes associated with sea-level rise. Policy and legislation considering biodiversity threatened by sea-level rise is also needed.
Further research that will aid in the conservation of this species includes population assessments and monitoring, population genetics studies, and ecological studies that incorporate threats to the species. Additionally, a species recovery plan needs to be written.
Lendemer, J.C. and J. Allen. 2014. Lichen Biodiversity under threat from Sea-Level Rise in the Atlantic Coastal Plain. BioScience 64: 923-931.
Lendemer, J.C. 2013. Two New Sterile Species of Loxospora (Sarrameanaceae: Lichenized Ascomycetes) from the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain. Journal of North Carolina Academy of Sciences 129(3): 71-81.