Taxonomic Notes: Alectoria fallacina is a chemically and morphologically distinct species that has been recognized for nearly 100 years and considered endemic to the Appalachian Mountains of eastern North America. A detailed treatment and comparison to the allopatric and widespread A. sarmentosa, with which it has been confused, was published by Lendemer and McMullin (2022).
Alectoria fallacina is endemic to the Appalachian Mountains of eastern North America. It is known from a small number of scattered occurrences in remnant old-growth forests. The majority of the extant population occurs in Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the eastern United States. The species is large and conspicuous, and has been searched for extensively in suitable habitat throughout the entire range of the taxon. In addition to being restricted to old-growth forests, the species occurs on mature trees of specific conifer host species. The rarity and spatial dispersion of the population make the species particularly susceptible to stochastic events including wildfires and storms. These events are increasing in the area where it occurs, particularly in the region that hosts the largest subpopulation. Host trees have been impacted previously by invasive species and air pollution, and continue to be impacted directly by invasive species. The southern Appalachian spruce-fir forests where much of the population occurs are considered endangered and likely to be greatly impacted by climate change in the near-term future. The species has a very restricted distribution and there are inferred continuing declines in EOO, AOO, habitat quality, and number of mature individuals. Therefore, it is assessed as Endangered under criteria A2ce and B2ab(i,ii,iii,v).
Assessor/s: Lendemer, J. & McMullin, T.; Reviewer/s: Allen, J.
Allen, J.L. & Lendemer, J.C. (2016) Climate change impacts on endemic, high-elevation lichens in a biodiversity hotspot. Biodiversity and Conservation25(3): 555-568.
Ellison, A.M., Orwig, D.A., Fitzpatrick, M.C. & Preisser, E.L. (2018) The past, present, and future of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (Adelges tsugae) and its ecological interactions with Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) forests. Insects9(172): 1-18.
IUCN (2022) The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2022-1. Available at: www.iucnredlist.org. (Accessed: 21 July 2022).
James, N.A., Abt, K.L., Frey, G.E., Han, X. & Prestemon, J.P. (2020) Fire in the Southern Appalachians: Understanding Impacts, Interventions, and Future Fire Events. e-General Technical Report. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, Southern Research Station, Asheville.
Jenkins, J.C., Aber, J.D. & Canham, C.D. (1999) Hemlock Woolly Adelgid impacts on community structure and N cycling rates in Eastern Hemlock forests. Canadian Journal of Forestry Research29(5): 630-645.
Lendemer, J.C., Anderson Stewart, C.R., Besal, B., Goldsmith, J., Griffith, H., Hoffman, J.R., Kraus, B., LaPoint, P., Li, L. Muscavitch, Z., Schultz, J., Schultz, R. & Allen, J.L. (2017) The lichens and allied fungi of Mount Mitchell State Park, North Carolina: A first checklist with comprehensive keys and comparison to historical data. Castnea82: 69-97.
Lendemer, J.C. & McMullin, R.T. (2022) Lectotypification of the threatened endemic Appalachian lichen Alectoria fallacina. Taxon (early view: 10.1002/tax.12719).
Noss, R.F., LaRoe, E.T. & Scott, J.M. (1995) Endangered Ecosystems of the United States: A Preliminary Assessment of Loss and Degradation. National Biological Service, Flagstaff.
Find out more about the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteriahere.