Abstract Detail

Bryology and Lichenology

Harrison, Georgia [1].

Impact of Rock Climbing Disturbance on Cliff Vegetation.

Cliff communities are dominated by stress-tolerant, often cryptic lichens, bryophytes, and vascular plants whose abundance is controlled by harsh abiotic conditions. These taxa vary in their requirement for soil substrate, water, and sunlight and in their ability to withstand disturbance. Rock climbing is one of the major sources of anthropogenic disturbance to cliff ecosystems, but can vary in impact relative to surface heterogeneity. To assess the impact of climbing, cliffs at Table Rock and Hawksbill Mountain in the Linville Gorge Wilderness area in North Carolina were surveyed for lichens, bryophytes, and vascular plants. I observed 42 lichen, 22 vascular plant, and 21 bryophyte species within 382 1 m2 survey plots. The most common species were lichens Lasallia papulosa, Lepraria neglecta, Physcia subtilis, Aspicilia cinerea, Xanthoparmelia conspersa, and Umbilicaria mammulata; vascular plants Selaginella tortipila and Hydatica petiolaris; and bryophytes Campylopus tallulensis and Weissia controversa. Canoparmelia alabamensis was the first collection in North Carolina and 21 other species (17 lichens, four bryophytes) were county records. Species richness and diversity were most strongly related to ledge and crack surface area for all three taxonomic groups. Climbed plots were different and less diverse than their unclimbed counterparts. Surface features (ledges, cracks, and pockets) differed in their abundance and size between sites and contributed to differences in richness and diversity. Climbing impacted lichen cover differently according to functional type, causing decreased foliose and fruticose, but increased crustose lichen cover. Climbing impacts cliffs by retarding ecological succession, resulting in abundant crustose lichens, and depauperate umbilicate foliose and fruticose lichens. Potential climbing area should be thoroughly surveyed before management decisions are made since cliff communities vary by site.

1 - University of Idaho, Plant Sciences, Moscow, ID, 83843, USA

Rock climbing
Recreational ecology
Comunity Ecology.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: BL1, Bryology/Lichenology AJ Sharp Session
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Thursday, July 30th, 2020
Time: 10:30 AM
Number: BL1003
Abstract ID:762
Candidate for Awards:A. J. Sharp Award

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