Biodiv Sci ›› 2020, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (1): 54-65.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2019154

• Editorial • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Threatened categories assessment of lichens in China

Xinli Wei1,Hong Deng1,Jiangchun Wei1,2,*()   

  1. 1. State Key Laboratory of Mycology, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101
    2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049
  • Received:2019-05-07 Accepted:2019-07-11 Online:2020-01-20 Published:2019-12-27
  • Contact: Jiangchun Wei


Lichens are important components of macrofungi, and thus they are also main subjects in the Red List Assessment of Macrofungi in China. A total of 2,164 lichen species were evaluated here, including 2,145 ascomycete lichen species and 19 basidiomycete lichen species. These species were organized into 2 phyla, 9 classes, 34 orders, 92 families and 352 genera. The results showed that, of the 28 species identified as threatened, 3 species were Critically Endangered (CR), 7 species were Endangered (EN) and 18 species were Vulnerable (VU). These 28 represented 1.29% of all evaluated species, with 6 other species considered to be Near Threatened (NT) and 657 species assessed as Least Concern (LC). More than half the species, 1,473 (68.07%), were Data Deficient (DD) and could not be further evaluated due to lack of data. This highlights the severe lack of lichen research and the urgent need for lichen taxonomists in China. The extremely slow growth, weak adaptability to habitat degradation, particular sensitivity to air pollution, narrow distribution and small population size characteristic of lichens all contribute to the susceptible state of lichens that face habitat destruction caused by human activities. In addition, it is worth noting that some lichen species evaluated as Vulnerable here, have since been overexploited due to their edibility and well-known medicinal value. These species’ conservation status will be further aggravated if they continue to lack effective protection.

Key words: IUCN red list, endangered taxa, assessment, lichen, China