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Species distribution maps

Posted: Wednesday, December 2, 2020 - 10:02

A new set of distribution maps for Britain and Ireland was produced at the end of November 2020 and these are now on the BLS website. They can be accessed from the Species and Maps page in the Resources section. Please let us know of any errors or omissions - email


Revisions of British and Irish Lichens - Arthoniaceae

Posted: Friday, August 14, 2020 - 16:12

LGBI3 Arthoniales coverWork on revising the Lichens of Great Britain and Ireland is going well and the first section of the new work, Revisions of British and Irish Lichens, is now available on the BLS website. It covers the Arthoniaceae, and includes a revised key, updates to the nomenclature and descriptions, and up to date distribution maps. Being published online makes it easy to make further changes if needed, and comments and suggestions are always welcome.

Getting the project to this milestone is a tremendous achievement, especially for the lead author Paul Cannon. Many other people have contributed and will continue to do so, but Paul has put in an extraordinary amount of work for which the society is most grateful. We look forward to the next installment!




Covid-19 letter from the BLS President

Posted: Friday, April 3, 2020 - 15:57

Dear British Lichen Society Members,

In these unprecedented times, I would like to offer you an update on the British Lichen Society’s response to the pandemic, but also offer you some good news and a little call-to-arms.

The safety and well-being of our members and their communities is our utmost priority. Therefore I regretfully inform you that we are temporarily suspending all face-to-face meetings, including Council, Committee and Field meetings and excursions with immediate effect.

The field meeting in May to North Harris has been cancelled; detailed planning for the recording meeting to Bredon Hill is currently on hold; and the situation regarding the field meeting in July to Aberdare is under review, this depending upon Government advice. It is the intention to try, perhaps in 2021, to hold all of the meetings that were planned for 2020. Members booked onto cancelled meetings should expect to be contacted by the field meetings secretary regarding any reimbursement of payments.

Although face-to-face meetings have been suspended, during this time the important business of the society will continue, informing and inspiring the public through development of educational materials and social media; advising on issues of conservation importance; collating, cleaning, maintaining and sharing data; and general running of the society.

While I have your attention, I'd like to highlight some important achievements of the Society and to which members of the BLS contributed, some of which were reported in the recent AGM in Edinburgh, and some which are even more recent successes:

  • Our new Senior Editorial team at the Lichenologist is in place, and the new format of the journal has been launched, including advance publication online - a move which should speed access to research and improve our impact;
  • Funds to support travel grants for the International Association of Lichenology meeting, now rescheduled for August 2021, are still set aside;
  • Thanks in part to a response from the BLS, survey work and public evidence, important dune heath communities were protected from development at Coul Links in Sutherland;
  • New Sites of Special Scientific Interest guidelines developed in collaboration with the nature conservation agencies have been published and adopted, resulting in 4 important lichens sites with new protection including 2 new SSSIs notified for lichens;
  • The back issues of the Bulletins have been digitally scanned and we are working to make them available to members;
  • Updates are underway towards the production of The Lichens of Great Britain and Ireland, 3rd Edition  - more than half of the treatments have been drafted;
  • More than 30K new records of UK lichens have been added to the database in 2019; and
  • Our field meetings and other events have generated 482 person-days of survey effort, not to mention a lot of fun, training and socialising, and thousands more have been touched by social media.

The list above is by no means complete, and I'd like to recognize all the hard work - voluntary, unpaid, and often behind the scenes - by the officers, council members, trustees, committee members and dedicated enthusiasts alike in making it all a reality.

Let me also thank you for your support of the BLS and for your understanding and participation. Council next meets via videoconference in mid-May, and I will send an update when the situation becomes clearer.

Although we have to suspend large gatherings, please remember that you may still continue to go out by applying recommended social distancing policies, and send records in! Or if you are staying in looking for activities, you can always turn your hand to learning a new skill: using recording spreadsheets perhaps!  Go outside if you can and take up the earlier twitter challenge of finding the lichen (ten lichens?) nearest your door. A little bit of nature goes a long way to counteract the worries and stresses of current challenges, and it is precisely those common lichens for which the BLS database always needs more records. 

With best wishes, and hoping that everyone stays safe and well,


Rebecca Yahr, BLS President



BLS AGM and British Lichen Conference 2020

Posted: Tuesday, December 3, 2019 - 19:58

Our next AGM will be held on Saturday 1st February 2020, as part of the British Lichen Conference at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. The conference will start with a reception and poster exhibition on the Friday evening, followed by a lecture and then dinner for those who have booked in advance. The lecture will be by Prof. Peter Crittenden, who is retiring this year as Editor in Chief of the Lichenologist, on "Toughing it out: lichen ecology and a life in lichen research".

The AGM will be on Saturday morning, starting at 10.30, and will be followed after lunch by an afternoon of short talks on everything from current lichen survey projects to using GIS to map lichens on your own computer. On the Sunday there will be an excursion to Arniston House, near Gorebridge, meeting at 10am for those who can stay on. 

This meeting coincides with two art exhibitions, Small is Beautiful (in the Library Foyer) and Thinking Plastic (in the John Hope Centre by the West Gate).

The venue for the Friday and Saturday is the Herbarium Buildings, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh EH3 5LR. Enter through the black gates to the Science/Herbarium Buildings, just north of 20 Inverleith Row.

Full details of the conference and AGM can be found on the Events page of the BLS website.

As usual there will be a sale of books during the meeting, organised by Prof. Mark Seaward. Any funds raised go to support our work on churchyard lichens. The list can be downloaded below.


BLS AGM 2019

Posted: Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 11:58

Our next AGM will be held on the morning of Saturday 26th January 2019, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. As usual we are making a weekend of it, so this will be preceded by a reception and the Swinscow lecture on the Friday evening, and then followed by a series of short talks on the Saturday afternoon and an excursion to Painswick Park on the Sunday. Members and friends are welcome to join us for any or all of this meeting.

Details of the venue and programme can be downloaded below, together with a catalogue for the book sale on the Friday evening.

Change of Charitable Status

Posted: Sunday, July 1, 2018 - 22:02

The BLS is now considering changing its status to become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). This will be discussed at the next AGM, in January 2019, and the proposed new Constitution and Standing Orders can now be downloaded from the Constitution page of this website. Any comments should be sent to the President, Paul Cannon, and we would be grateful if this could be done well before the AGM to give us time to look into them.

Dobson - new edition now available

Posted: Tuesday, June 26, 2018 - 11:48

Lichens. An illustrated guide to the British and Irish species

This new seventh edition was published in June 2018. It provides a description and illustration of most of the species likely to be found in Great Britain and Ireland, those excluded being very rare or local, and has been fully revised and updated. Mark Powell has added a valuable new section on lichenicolous fungi, and the book uses the new species names accepted since the publication of Lichens of Great Britain & Ireland (2009).

The book is produced jointly by Richmond Publishing and the British Lichen Society, and there is a special offer price for BLS members if the book is ordered from Richmond Press using this form.



Learning Zone

Posted: Sunday, February 4, 2018 - 12:36

We have recently updated the materials we make available to schools, students and other individuals who want to learn more about lichens or do projects based on lichens.These can be found in the Learning Zone, under Resources on the BLS website.

Information on lichen biology, symbiosis, and how to identify lichens is in the About Lichens section of the website.

Lichens on Twitter

Posted: Sunday, February 4, 2018 - 12:23

The BLS twitter acount (@BLSlichens) was launched in November 2017 and already has more than 1000 followers. We also have a new Facebook account (@BLSlichensF).

Both are being managed by Amanda and Simon Davey, pictured here, but other BLS members are chipping in with their finds and mysteries as well. Non-members are very welcome to post to. either account.




Posted: Sunday, February 4, 2018 - 12:13

The BLS held it's 2018 AGM in Carlisle, at the Tullie House museum. It was well attended and followed by some excellent talks.

At the meeting Allan Pentecost stood down as President at the end of his two year term, to be replaced by Paul Cannon. Becky Yahr became the new Vice President, and Eluned Smith took on the role of Secretary. 

We were especially pleased to give the Ursula Duncan Award to our Treasurer, John Skinner (pictured here). Like any good Treasurer he works quietly in the background, keeping us all on track, so it was good to have the opportunity to show our appreciation for all his efforts.