The Lobarion Project

Lobaria species and species associated with them like Sticta, Degelia, Pannaria and Nephroma (The Lobarion community) and the habitats in which they occur, are some of the most attractive and spectacular lichen communities in the world. We are especially fortunate that in the British Isles we have some of the finest stands in Europe, notably in the west of Scotland and we therefore have an international responsibility to ensure their conservation and survival. At one time members of the Lobarion were found throughout the British Isles but largely as a result of the air pollution of the 19th and 20th centuries it is now largely restricted, outside of Scotland north of the central valley, to parts of the southern uplands, Wales, southern, western and the far north of England. It is mostly found in old parklands, wood pasture and in sheltered gorge woodlands. Occasionally it also occurs on coastal cliffs and among heather in maritime heathland.

How you can help

Whilst those Lobarion communities in western Scotland appear still to be thriving, the Society’s Conservation committee has become increasingly concerned over reports of a decline in England and Wales. In response as a first step to understanding the threat to this iconic lichen community, the Society is embarking on a two year resurvey of as many of the stands as possible of the Lobarion in England, Wales and Scotland from the central valley southwards , starting in 2012. It will involve visiting sites, mostly in the west and south of England and more generally in Wales, where it has been found previously. The presence and condition of any Lobaria species present and associated species can then be entered on  this simple form. Information on any possible threats or reasons for losses or declines is important and wherever possible there should be supporting photographs. If the species have gone it is just as important to document the loss, perhaps even more so. There will be a third year to fill in any gaps in coverage and to write a report of the findings and with recommendations for future conservation effort.

This will be an opportunity for members to make an important contribution to providing a data base with which we can then hope to influence the various local and national conservation bodies to take action and prevent further decline. We intend to undertake this by encouraging members to liaise with their county recorders to survey sites. The Society will be in a position to refund reasonable travel and subsistence costs. We are keen to involve as many members as possible and members should in the first instance contact their county recorder (see website or Handbook for details) or the project coordinator (email


Explore an interactive map of Lobaria species recorded in Britain