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Grand Teton National Park Report

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Lichens are an important group when considering the biodiversity of a region. While not usually considered economically important, they are conspicuous parts of the flora of alpine rock and soil, contributing to rock weathering and providing habitat for small invertebrates. In the forest zones, large hanging fruticose species are food for deer and elk and are indicators of high air quality. Soil lichens at all elevations are important stabilizers, helping to prevent wind and water erosion. Since lichens have a very slow growth rate, a diverse lichen flora indicates stable undisturbed environments. The major objective of this project was to characterize the lichen flora of Grand Teton National Park, providing a species list as part of the ongoing lichen studies in the northern Rocky Mountains and as a contribution to the database for all national parks. Lichen specimens were also collected for element analysis to provide a baseline for air quality assessment.