LICHENS AND AIR POLLUTIONS

Air pollution is a growing environmental problem that used to affect mainly the inhabitants of large cities such as Los Angeles, New York, London, Mexico or Santiago. However, the small size of the planet and global movement of air masses has made air pollution a problem for everyone everywhere. In recent years, the traditional effects of lung damage have become only part of a larger set that includes damages to the ozone layer and globar warming.


In the old days, there was little that the lay person could do about air pollution, but currently there are many options for self protection that range from political activism to use of free of charge bioindicators. Lichens are a good example of bioindication for the common citizen. These fungi-algae complexes that many people associate with “green spots on tree trunks” are being used even by school children to monitor the air quality of their communities. This site explains how.

Relevant literature

  • Twenty years of lichen cover change in a tropical habitat (Costa Rica) and its relation with air pollution. Read
  • A new method to assess air pollution using lichens as bioindicators. Read
  • Aplicación de un método sencillo para medir la contaminación atmosférica: una experiencia comunitaria hecha en Costa Rica. Read (Spanish)
  • Our work in the media. Read (Spanish)