• 1Proposed
  • 2Under Assessment
  • 3Preliminary Assessed
  • 4Assessed
  • 5Published

Lepraria lanata Tønsberg

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Scientific name
Lepraria lanata
Common names
IUCN Specialist Group
Assessment status
Proposed by
Jessica Allen
Jessica Allen
Comments etc.
Anders Dahlberg

Assessment Notes

Taxonomic notes

Why suggested for a Global Red List Assessment?

This very unique species of Lepraria deserves Global Red List Assessment because it is narrowly endemic to high-elevations in the Southern Appalachians, and is thus threatened by climate change. Chemical changes to rock substrates and overall ecosystem due to chemical pollutants and acid rain, loss of surrounding tree species due to invasive pests, and disturbances, such as logging and mining, also threaten this species.

Geographic range

This species is only found in the the southern Appalachians. It is restricted to small areas of Tennessee and North Carolina. Specifically, it is known from The Great Smoky Mountains National Park, The Black Mountains, Roan Mountain and historically from Grandfather Mountain.

Population and Trends

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

Habitat and Ecology

Lepraria lanata only grows on moist, shaded rock outcrops at high elevations. It is most commonly found in southern Appalachian spruce-fir forests, a critically imperiled ecosystem (G1-G2 ranking, Natureserve).

Temperate Forest


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.

Transportation & service corridorsNamed speciesAcid rainSmogHabitat shifting & alteration

Conservation Actions

The known populations of this species are all in national forest, state park, or national park land, so protecting the land area where it grows is not a concern. However, there are many conservation actions that can be taken including controlling the balsam wooly adelgid on Abies fraseri, 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.

Invasive/problematic species controlHabitat & natural process restorationEducation & awarenessNational levelPolicies and regulations

Research needed

The distribution of this species is very well understood. 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. Additionally, a species recovery plan needs to be written.

Population size, distribution & trendsLife history & ecologyThreatsSpecies Action/Recovery PlanPopulation trends

Use and Trade


Abramson, R. and J. Haskell. 2006. Encyclopedia of Appalachia. University of Tennessee Press: Knoxville, TN.

Lendemer, J. C. 2013: A monograph of the crustose members of the genus Lepraria Ach. s. str. (Stereocaulaceae, Lichenized Ascomycetes) in North America north of Mexico. - Opuscula Philolichenum 12(1): 27-141.

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 [effectively published in print 09 January 2013].

Koo, K. A., B. C. Patten & I. F. Creed. 2011. Growth at high versus low elevations in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Evaluation by systems modeling. Canad. J. Forest Res. 41: 945–962.

Rollins, A. W., H. S. Adams & S. L. Stephenson. 2010. Changes in forest composition and structure across the red spruce-hardwood ecotone in the central Appalachians. Castanea 75: 303–314.

Rhainds, M., S. B. Heard, J. D. Sweeney, P. Silk & L. Flaherty. 2010. Phenology and spatial distribution of native and exotic Tetropium longhorned beetles (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae). Environm. Entomol. 39: 1794–1800.

Rose, A. & N. S. Nicholas. 2008. Coarse woody debris in a Southern Appalachian spruce-fir forest of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Nat. Areas J. 28: 342–355.

Tønsberg, T. 2007: Notes on the lichen genus Lepraria in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, southeastern North America: Lepraria lanata and L. salazinica spp. nov.. - Opuscula Philolichenum 4: 51-54.

USFS. http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5436769.pdf

Known distribution - countries

Regional Population and Trends

Country Trend Redlisted