Authors:J. Nascimbene, L. Marini, G. Bacaro, and P. Nimis
In Europe, epiphytic lichens are incorporated in forest diversity monitoring projects in which sampling at the tree level is carried out on 4 grids on the 4 cardinal points (N, S, E, W) of the trunk. Our results, based on the analysis of a dataset referring to six forest sites in NE-Italy and including 264 trees, indicate that a lichen assessment based on sampling at the tree level less than four cardinal points might be effective in estimating species richness across different forest types, showing very high rates of species capture. Similar results were achieved if the reduction of sampling effort is applied to the number of trees sampled within each area. This effect can be explained taking into account the redundant information collected on the same tree. In the framework of forest monitoring programs, the main perspective of our results is related to the possibility of investing saved resources for improving lichen inventories by including in the surveys currently neglected microhabitats. Further studies would be welcome to identify an optimal balance between sampling effort and information gathered, as economic resources are often a constraint to activate and maintain large-scale and long-term monitoring projects.