Graphis sterlingiana (Sterling Lips) is a narrow endemic of the southern Appalachian Mountains of eastern North America. It is known only from 13 locations, and there is only a maximum of 64 living individuals. The species occurs only on old-growth Betula alleghaniensis trees at high elevations in the Southern Appalachians, which were severely impacted by widespread logging activities in the 20thcentury, likely leading to widespread decline of the species. Additional declines in the population may have also been caused by widespread acid rain impacts. The exceedingly narrow range of this species combined with its highly specialised ecology suggests that Sterling Lips should be a top candidate for conservation action in the United States and, indeed, worldwide. This species warrants listing as Endangered under the D criterion due to the existence of fewer than 250 individuals left in the wild, and under A2c due to the suspected rate of the past population decline.
Assessor/s: Allen, J., Lendemer, J. & McMullin, T.; Reviewer/s: Reese Næsborg, R.; Facilitator(s) and Compiler(s): Scheidegger, C. & Allen, J.
Allen, J. L. (2017) Testing lichen transplant methods for conservation applications in the southern Appalachian Mountains, North Carolina, U.S.A. The Bryologist120: 311-319.
Allen, J.L. & Lendemer, J.C. (2016) Climate change impacts on endemic, high-elevation lichens in abiodiversity hotspot. Biodiversity and Conservation25(3): 555-568.
IUCN. 2020. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2020-3. Available at: www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 10 December 2020).
Lendemer, J.C., Harris, R.C. & Tripp, E.A. (2013) The Lichens and Allied Fungi of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The New York Botanical Garden Press, Bronx, New York.
Find out more about the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteriahere.