|RBGE Lichens (Home) > Epiphyte Ecology|
> Epiphytes grow harmlessly on other plants, typically trees: most people are familiar with them as orchids, bromeliads and ferns, which are charismatic elements in tropical and sub-tropical forests (Figure 1).
> Equally charismatic, but perhaps less well known, are lichens, mosses and liverworts, which become the dominant epiphytes in Europe's temperate and boreal forests (Figure 2).
> These 'cryptogamic' plants and fungi lend international significance to UK conservation, and contribute importantly to diverse and healthy ecosystems; among their ecosystem-service roles:
> Despite their diversity and ecological importance, the conservation biology of cryptogamic epiphytes was until recently severely under-researched in Britain. In 2003 RBGE's senior lichenologist, Dr Brian Coppins, suggested with respect to lichens that:
> Over the past decade, RBGE researchers have worked with colleagues to address this knowledge gap, aiming to provide a solid evidence-base for lichen conservation.
> As an output, and made possible by joint-funding from The Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, this web-site provides an Epiphyte Tool-kit comprising two products:
> For further information on RBGE's epiphyte research, please contact Chris Ellis.
 Coppins, B.J. (2003) Lichen conservation in Scotland. Botanical Journal of Scotland, 55: 27-38.