Macroclichen and bryophyte species diversity, abundance, biomass and nitrogen stocks were compared between arboreal and terrestrial habitats in old-growth sub-boreal spruce forests in central British Columbia, Canada on the two most common soil types in the area, fine- and coarse-textured soils. A total of 118 macrolichen and bryophyte species were identified, including 71 species of macrolichens (44 arboreal and 43 terrestrial) and 47 species of bryophytes, of which only one moss (Orthotrichum sp.) was arboreal. Macrolichen functional groups varied in both diversity and abundance between arboreal and terrestrial communities. Cyanolichens were common in both arboreal and terrestrial habitats, but were much more abundant arboreally than terrestrially. This epiphytic biomass was largely attributed to the tripartite cyanolichen species, Lobaria pulmonaria, while the most common terrestrial macrolichens were bipartite Peltigera cyanolichen species. From a biomass perspective, the epiphyte community was almost entirely lichens while the terrestrial community was predominantly bryophytes. Terrestrial and arboreal macrolichens and bryophytes made a relatively small contribution to total forest above-ground biomass (0.5–1.4% or 1698–3339 kg ha−1), however, a comparison between macrolichen and bryophyte biomass and tree foliar biomass showed lichens and bryophytes to be equivalent to 11.7–20.5% of tree foliar biomass. Macrolichens made a proportionately large contribution when compared to forest foliar nitrogen and contained 6.4–8.1% of forest foliar nitrogen. Nitrogen contents varied greatly between functional groups, from a maximum of 3.98% N in terrestrial bipartite cyanolichens to a minimum of 0.37% N in Alectoria hair lichens. In total, terrestrial and arboreal lichens and bryophytes represented 20–39 kg N ha−1 in this old-growth sub-boreal spruce ecosystem.
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Vol. 111 • No. 4