Mycoporum biseptatum is rare and endemic to a small area of high elevation habitats threatened by multiple forces including climate change.
This species is narrowly restricted to a high elevations in the southern Appalachian Mountains of eastern North America (North Carolina and Tennessee).
Demographic studies are needed to assess and monitor population sizes. The species occurs as small populations that because of its ecology are easily out-competed by other lichens. Populations are presumed to be stable.
Population Trend: Stable
Mycoporum biseptatum grows on the bark and stems of hardwood trees and shrubs on woody new growth and other surfaces not yet colonized by other lichens. It is out-competed and eventually excluded from an individual host as the process of succession takes place. The species is known only from high elevation montane hardwood forests and spruce-fir forests, particularly old growth.
The species is a member of the southern Appalachian spruce-fir forest is a globally highly imperiled ecosystem. Past human activities have reduced the extent of the spruce-fir forest by 90-99%. Now, these forests and the species within them are threatened by acid rain and smog (both of which lichens are particularly sensitive too), the loss of Abies fraseri due to the balsam wooly adelgid, transportation corridors increasing air pollution, and climatically suitable habitats shifting with climate change. It also occurs in montane hardwood forests that have historically been heavily impacted by logging and other forces.
The known populations of this species are all in national forest, state park, or national park land. Conservation actions that can be taken include controlling the balsam wooly adelgid on Abies fraseri to prevent habitat deterioration, educating and training land managers and local botanists to identify the species to monitor its health, federally listing the species as endangered in the United States, and improving air quality regulation.
The general distribution of this species is well understood however additional surveys are merited. It is well documented to be a very narrow endemic. 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.
Lendemer, J.C. and R.C. Harris. 2014. Studies in Lichens and Lichenicolous Fungi – no. 18: resolution of three names introduced by Degelius and Magnusson based on material from the Great Smoky Mountains to Castanea 79(2): 106-117.
Lendemer, J.C., R.C. Harris and E.A. Tripp. 2013. The lichens and allied fungi of Great Smoky Mountains National Park: an annotated checklist with comprehensive keys. Memoirs of The New York Botanical Garden 104: i-viii, 1-152