Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute (MTRI) : Institut de recherche du Mersey Tobeatic

MTRI - Projects - Forest - Lichens


MTRI is a non-profit co-operative with a mandate to promote sustainable use of natural resources and biodiversity conservation in the Southwest Nova Biosphere Reserve and beyond through research, education, and the operation of a field station.

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Backyard Biodiversity

Backyard Biodiversity

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What is so important about lichens?

Boreal felt lichen (BFL) and other rare lichens that inhabit coastal forests in Nova Scotia are at risk because of air pollution and forestry.  Boreal felt lichen and other rare cyanolichens are difficult to detect and as a result the knowledge of their ranges and distributions is incomplete.  Little is known about which sources of air pollution pose the greatest threats and at what levels.  A Geographic Information System (GIS) habitat algorithm was developed by the Nova Scotia government and has allowed the forest industry to use precaution when harvesting in potentially sensitive areas.  This project has fostered partnership with industry to search for Boreal felt lichen.  Since the algorithm was developed, knowledge of Boreal felt lichen populations has increased greatly.  The continuation of this long term data set will be crucial to conserving Nova Scotian populations of Boreal felt lichen.

Photo Credit:  Brad Toms


Project Objectives 



Photo Credit: Brad Toms


2014 Results


Years of Data





Photo credits:  Tom Neily and Brad Toms



Additional Resources