You are here

Older trees help to protect an endangered species

The oldest trees in the forest help to prevent the disappearance of endangered species in the natural environment, according to a study led by the University of Barcelona. This is the case of the wolf lichen -- threatened throughout Europe -- , which now finds refuge in the oldest trees in the high mountains of the Pyrenees. This study reveals for the first time the decisive role of the oldest trees in the conservation of other living beings thanks to their characteristic and unique physiology.

Conserving the oldest trees in forests will be essential to protect biodiversity in forest ecosystems, which are increasingly affected by the impact of global change. This is stated on a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA (PNAS). The study is signed by the experts Sergi Munné-Bosch and Ot Pasques, from the Faculty of Biology and the UB Biodiversity Research Institute (IRBio).

The wolf lichen (Letharia vulpina) is a species with a very limited distribution that is prevalent in mature forests and long-lived trees. Native to the American continent, it has also been found in Europe and the Iberian Peninsula, in medium and high mountain areas. Now, the authors have discovered that the presence of this lichen in the Pyrenees is associated with the longest-lived trees, specifically the black pine (Pinus uncinata).

"These old trees are found in the most isolated places, they grow on rocks with very little substrate and show unique characteristics regarding structure and composition. Specifically, the black pine can even live for more than a millennium, and its decay would be the most important factor facilitating the presence of the lichen," says Professor Sergi Munné-Bosch.

Read more


Monday, April 8, 2024