This species is endemic to high elevations in the southern Appalachians. The narrow distribution, threats to the ecosystem in which it lives, including invasive pests, and climate change all contribute to the threatened status of Lecanora masana.
Lecanora masana is endemic to the southern Appalachian Mountains in the southeastern United States where it grows at middle to high elevations throughout the region (Tripp and Lendemer 2020).
EOO = 12,068 km2
AOO = 232 km2
Locations = 50
Population and Trends
The population size of this species is suspected to be suffering an ongoing decline of 30-40%. The highest elevation sites are found in spruce-fir forest, which have been, and continues to be, significantly negatively impacted by the invasive balsam wooly adelgid, and its lowest elevation sites are likely to be negatively impacted by hotter drier climates (Allen & Lendemer 2016). Air pollution is likely an additional threat that continues to negatively impact the population size of this species. The decline is calculated to be occurring in a 36 year window based on a generation length of 12 years.
Population Trend: Decreasing
Habitat and Ecology
This species is found in multiple different habitats, including spruce-fir forests, northern hardwood forests, and shrub balds. It grows on the bark of a diversity of phorophytes, including Ericacious shrubs, Picea rubens, Abies fraseri, and Betula spp.
Loss of habitat due to invasive tree pests (balsam woolly adelgid) and climate change are the most important threats to Lecanora masana. Many other high-elevation endemics in the southern Appalachians are threatened by climate change (Allen and Lendemer 2016).
Most of the population occurs on public lands that are protected to various degrees. Many sites are in National Parks and federally designated National Forest wilderness areas, both of which are largely protected from direct anthropogenic impacts. At sites on other public lands where direct impacts may occur (e.g., infrastructure improvement/construction, road improvement/construction, logging) the species would benefit from protections from such threats. As the species is not presently listed at the state or federal level, inclusion in conservation policy would also benefit the species. Finally, as is the case with many lichen species, conservation of taxon would be advanced through education efforts to increase public awareness and train resource managers to recognize the species.