deer lichen

Lookout for 2007 - deer lichen beside Scenic 30A

Look out of your window as you drive along Scenic 30A, that is, if you are on a road trip along the Emerald Coast in NW Florida. Or you could be hiking or bicycling alongside, on the Timpoochee Trail. To the southwest side of Deer Lake you can see deer lichen (commonly called deer moss) growing a few feet from the road. Here it is when I first saw it (site 3.1a), calling it "old growth". In 2007, Scenic 30A was in the process of upgrading from state road, county road, or coastal highway to scenic corridor. It became Scenic Highway 30-A in 2008. This deer lichen is in the corridor. I propose we take the health of these plants as a gauge of the environmental conservation success of the corridor.

Deer lichen is vulnerable to air pollution. The existence of deer lichen by the two-lane road, with traffic increasing daily, indicates that the air has been pretty good. Beyond air, is the deer lichen physically respected? I discovered this patch of old growth deer lichen on March 27, 2007. The GPS coordinates are N 30°18'29.9" W086°04'49.1".

On July 1, 2007, large truck tire tread marks arced up the bank and over about a meter of moss. I took this movie the next morning. It is about 1.5 minutes long. Some of the moss appears broken, but generally it is springy. I tentatively call some of these plants Cladina evansii and Cladina subtenuis based on web research (in 2009 learned they are now Cladonia evansii and Cladonia subtenuis).

I will keep watch. On the Lookout 2000 celebration page there is a timeline. I added a five-year item for the deer lichen, to be reinspected with the condition reported in the year 2012.

May 2008: another mowing destroyed more of the deer lichen. The tire tread went beside and below last year's track. See a closeup of the damage, comparing healthy to crushed growth (site3.3a).

December 2008: another mowing machine spared the deer lichen. The tire tread went below wild flowers, below last May's track. See the spared area (site3.1b). Note that did not become a common practice, unfortunately.

January 2011: mowing machines randomly drive over the deer lichen or scrape parts of the bank. I've been following earthballs in the grass on the other side of the bike path but on 12-02-2011 found an earthball on the SW bank.

March 2012: five-year reinspection condition report to complete goal. See two photographs: overview and closeup.

For information about the corridor, see Florida Scenic Highway.

Deer lichen site 3.1. Scenic 30A Deer Lake State Park. See also images. Back to deer lichen or Lookout.

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